It was difficult to know who was the happier at the end of the sprint race in the 2007/08 A1GP season finale at Brands Hatch - Robbie Kerr for having triumphed again in front of his partisan home supporters, or Neel Jani for having finally sealed the series laurels for Switzerland.

Kerr's victory mirrored that which he had registered at Brands this time last year, and he will now doubtless be aiming to do the double, something Nico H?lkenberg denied him twelve months ago by a scant six tenths of a second. Jani, meanwhile, was afterwards left to reflect on a superb season in which the rightful champions had finally been crowned.

Pole-sitter Kerr got the jump at the rolling start, with Jonathan Summerton slotting in behind in second and Adam Carroll going all the way around the outside of Jani at Paddock Hill Bend for third place.

France's Franck Montagny and Michael Ammerm?ller both lost ground on the opening lap, with the pair going on to scrap enthusiastically over tenth position over the remainder of the race, whilst ahead of them Jonny Reid had got up to eighth place - though that was still seven spots lower than the Kiwi needed to be if he was to have any hopes of keeping New Zealand's slight championship hopes alive.

Up front, meanwhile, Kerr was already seven tenths of a second clear of Summerton at the end of lap one, a gap that would be pegged on lap two as the top three began to close up on one another. With four laps completed Kerr's advantage had been reduced to six tenths, with Carroll in third - the man to have used the most power boosts, and to good effect - pressing both of them very hard indeed.

Behind the leading trio, Jani was doing exactly what he needed to do by staying out of trouble in fourth, though Narain Karthikeyan was fast coming along to play behind. Reid was still stuck back in eighth, and setting the fastest middle sector of the race - as if he had suddenly received a wake-up call, but a day too late - was swiftly negated by running wide across the grass. What's more, the 24-year-old had at this point used all of his power boosts...

CongFu Cheng suddenly slowed with six laps remaining, though China's tactics soon became clear as the Saturday practice pace-setter immediately set the race's fastest lap - an effort he would subsequently topple on a couple of occasions - ensuring the team at least gained a point from an otherwise miserable weekend.

All eyes were on the action at the head of the field, however, where with four laps to go Carroll had closed right onto the back of Summerton, though the Floridian still had all four of his power boosts intact and his Ulster rival just one.

Carroll's attentions on the back of the 'We The People' machine allowed Kerr some much-appreciated breathing space with only a couple of laps left to run, as the 28-year-old put more than a second between himself and his pursuers. A lock-up into Stirling's on the penultimate lap gave the spectators a brief scare, but still the High Wycombe ace pulled out another three tenths.

As they came around to take the chequered flag Great Britain was 1.126 seconds to the good for an extremely popular home triumph - and one that has vaulted the home favourites ahead of France for third place in the nations' standings. Not only that, but the result has also helped to narrow the gap to New Zealand in second down to just ten points from 22, with 16 left to play for and Reid beginning the longer feature outing all the way down in 17th on the grid.

Summerton held onto the runner-up spot ahead of Carroll in the final reckoning, with Jani's fourth place comfortably enough to clinch the crown for Switzerland. Karthikeyan remained fifth for India, with Filipe Albuquerque in the Portuguese entry coming home sixth, Adrian Zaugg for South Africa seventh and Reid unable to do any better than eighth as the trophy slipped definitively out of New Zealand's grasp. Bleekemolen and Montagny rounded out the top ten finishers, as all 22 nations took the chequered flag.

To see the sprint race result in full, click here

 

Comments

Loading Comments...