Brazil returned to the A1 Grand Prix podium for the first time in two years after a superb performance in Sepang by Sergio Jimenez, one that earned the plaudits of team principal Emerson Fittipaldi.

Brazil have gone through a significantly lean period since Nelson Piquet Jr. managed a historic double victory at the first-ever A1 GP round at Brands Hatch, but Jimenez's form all weekend suggested the team were heading for an overdue good result.

This was evident in the first race when Jimenez claimed the team's best result since Christian Fittipaldi's fourth at Sentul during the 2005/06 season, with a fifth place finish from seventh following a great start.

However, it was in the feature race that the former GP2 racer starred after managing another fine getaway to surge up to third place by the end of the first lap.

Keeping up with Switzerland France ahead, Jimenez was dealt a favour during the safety car period after the two nations ahead delayed one other in the pit lane. Sat side-by-side with Jani at the exit of the pit lane, Jimenez won the drag race down to the first corner to assume the lead.

Despite intense pressure, he would remain there for several laps, but when Jani came in early for his second mandatory pit stop, Jimenez was unable to make his clear laps count and when he eventually came in, the Swiss driver swept round to the take back the lead. Nonetheless, Jimenez was not too disappointed with the outcome.

"The main race was very tough but I'm really happy with the result. I made a very good start, jumped to third and didn't let Switzerland and France get too far ahead of me. In the first pitstop the boys did an amazing job and I was able to take the lead. We had a different strategy to Switzerland because we used our new tyres in the middle stint while they used theirs in the last one.

"Because of that I was able to put in some good laps after the first stop and Neel never caught me too closely. The second stop was also very good but obviously Neel had the new tyres after that. Anyway, we have worked so hard together as a team this weekend and it has paid off, so this result is for the boys and for Emerson, who has given me a great opportunity here in A1GP."

Fittipaldi was also full of praise for the youngster, particularly in light of the sheer pace both Switzerland and France have shown this weekend.

"Sergio did an amazing job because although we had a good car, it was not as fast as Switzerland or France, who have found a special set up here in Malaysia. The pit crew also did a fantastic job and everyone is working very hard.

"It's been a long time since we've had such a good result and in Sergio we have found a very good driver who can repeat the same kind of results we were having with Nelson Piquet Jr in season one. A1 Team Brasil is back!"

 

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