New Zealand made A1GP history today as Jonny Reid and 'Black Beauty' dominated the Taupo sprint race from lights-to-flag to score their nation's maiden series victory on home soil - and with it move into second position in the championship standings.

The 24-year-old's success made New Zealand only the second country in A1GP history to triumph on home turf, following Robbie Kerr's similar result at Brands Hatch last year. What's more, with championship leader Switzerland's Neel Jani coming unstuck in an opening lap collision, the Kiwis have now overtaken France and closed to within just five points of the pace-setters in the title standings.

The packed grandstands rose to their feet as Reid took the chequered flag three seconds ahead of defending champions Germany's Christian Vietoris, to secure the first win for New Zealand since taking a double victory in Brno earlier this season. Vietoris, who picked up a bonus point for setting fastest lap, had started from fourth on the grid but quickly disposed of both South Africa and France to make second place his own.

"It's huge, absolutely huge," an overjoyed Reid enthused after crossing the finish line. "It's the greatest moment in my motorsport career. It means a lot to me, and the pressure has been on all weekend. It's been all go since I got back from the Christmas break and it's really, really satisfying to get one on the board for everyone.

"The pole position was nice, but now we've got the points too and that's what matters in the championship. It's great to have all the home support and I'm just stoked to be number one in the sprint.

"We can definitely move forward in the feature; it's a long race and we've just got to tune the car a bit more for the conditions, but we'll be right there I'm sure. We've got to control the emotions a little bit after this first victory and look for another."

"The main aim was to get on the podium for the sprint race so I'm really happy," Vietoris added. "I feel really comfortable and the car now feels fine, so I'm looking forward to the feature race. I'm starting from the first row, and with a good start I hope I can do well."

Reid and Vietoris were joined up on the rostrum by France's Loic Duval, who raced to a strong third place, followed by South Africa's Adrian Zaugg in fourth.

"I think Adrian took a really good start and actually was in front of Jonny," feature race pole-sitter Duval explained. "Christian could pass me in the first two corners and then I managed to come back and get on the podium. I had a good chance to overtake the South African car, so it wasn't too bad and the car was ok.

"We are going to start first for the feature race, so I'm still really confident. I have to take a good start, and if I am leading from the front then I think we have a really good chance."

The Netherlands (Jeroen Bleekemolen), Ireland (Adam Carroll) and the USA (Jonathan Summerton) wound up fifth, sixth and seventh respectively, whilst Portugal recorded its best finish the 2007/08 campaign when the on-form Joao Urbano crossed the line eighth.

Australia's John Martin and India's Narain Karthikeyan fought hard to take the final two points-paying positions, with Pakistan's Adam Khan putting in his finest performance of the season to secure eleventh spot. Indeed, Lebanon had been on course for its first-ever A1GP point until Tomas Enge hit Chris Alajajian from behind on the lap nine, causing the latter to pit for repairs and ultimately drop down to 15th place.

The opening lap turn one m?l?e that saw to Switzerland's hopes also accounted for Malaysia's Alex Yoong, Canadian Robert Wickens and Brazilian star Sergio Jimenez. The incident brought out the safety car for two laps, with only the latter pair being able to rejoin the action.

 

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