Pakistan and Lebanon both had reasons to be cheerful in the latest A1GP World Cup of Motorsport meeting in Taupo, after the former finally broke its 2007/08 points duck in the nation vs nation series, and the latter came the closest it has ever been to doing the same.

Adam Khan wound up just shy of the points in eleventh place in the 20-minute sprint dash, after profiting from a strong start from dead last on the grid, an opening lap collision ahead of him and a gutsy move on Satrio Hermanto in the Indonesian entry. That would be the prelude to an even better result in the longer, drama-strewn feature outing, as Khan recovered from a trip across the grass whilst defending against erstwhile championship leader Neel Jani and took advantage of the USA's subsequent disqualification to claim tenth spot - and with it the final point.

"I was pleased that we were finally knocking on the door of a points finish," the 22-year-old remarked after the sprint race. "It was a good step forward; the team is gelling well, the car is good and we are moving up half the field. A few more laps might have helped us to reach the top ten, but it certainly gave us confidence as we headed into the main feature race.

"That was a very physical, difficult race, particularly on my hands which were very sore. A point is a welcome reward for the team's efforts and I'm delighted we've got off the starting blocks. I'm really looking forward to the next one, and if we can keep this momentum going a podium will soon be in our sights.

"Danny, our driver coach, is very beneficial during the races as well, feeding me valuable information throughout, motivating me and sharing his racing experience, so that really helps."

"That was a great result," added team manager John Allen. "The first point of the season was well-deserved for everyone; we're really pleased with this. Adam drove really well, listening and learning, coping well on a difficult track and the whole team did a really good job. Excellent work from Danny as well, and this gave Adam extra confidence. I can't wait to get to Australia to continue building on these results."

A1 Team Lebanon's Chris Alajajian similarly came so close but so far to his nation's points goal in the sprint race, as he rapidly made up six places from his 17th-position grid slot. By lap six he had gained a further spot to move up into the points, only for disaster to strike with just four tours remaining as the 21-year-old fell victim to a mistake from the Czech Republic's Tomas Enge in turn twelve, dropping him back down to a frustrating and unrepresentative 15th place at the chequered flag. A coming-together with Italy's Edoardo Piscopo, meanwhile, brought an early bath in the feature race and left the Lebanese squad to once more leave the weekend empty-handed.

"Of course I'm very disappointed that we didn't capture those elusive points by finishing in the top ten," the Australian-born A1GP rookie reflected afterwards on his sprint race misfortune. "There's nothing I could have done about it; it was just a racing incident. Tomas came and apologised to me and I know it wasn't an intentional move, but it was a huge blow for the team as it looked as if we had the result we needed.

"[In the feature race] it was my fault, with the dusty track and a little late-braking ending with a trip into the gravel, and the car wasn't going anywhere. I think there are some positives we can take from the weekend though. We know we can run close to the top ten, so we just need to make a further step and achieve our goal.

"Although the results were not the ones we wanted, there is plenty of optimism as we head to Eastern Creek, a track that Chris knows well," added team principal Luke Craft. "We learned a few lessons from the weekend and we need to use the experiences of these two races to make up ground and nail that points finish. We were the closest we've been to this goal, but unfortunately it didn't happen."

The next A1GP World Cup of Motorsport outing will be at Eastern Creek in Australia this coming weekend.

 

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