Jos Verstappen made a spectacular exit from the third round of the A1 Grand Prix Championship at the Estoril circuit in Portugal on Sunday, his bright orange Team Holland Lola-Zytek last being seen vaulting over the top of Adrian Sutil's Team Germany machine half way through the feature race.

Verstappen's dramatic demise came on a day that saw the former Formula One driver finish a solid fourth in the 18-lap feature race, stall on the grid for the feature race, stage a magnificent comeback during the first half of the 36 lapper and then spoil it all by misjudging his braking on the lap following the second restart of the race on lap 17.

Trying to get back into the top five and continue to fight for a possible podium, Verstappen saw half an opportunity going into turn eight and went for it, with disastrous results.

"Fourth in the sprint race, that was the maximum," said Verstappen, who spent much of the race holding off the Czech Republic's Tomas Enge. "The fight with the Czech Republic was fun though. The fourth spot also was a good start position for the second race", added the ever-popular Dutchman.

"When you start, you first put the car in neutral, wait for the red light when everyone is on the grid and then you put it into first gear straight away. Then you let the clutch come up just to the point where it's picking up. But I put it in first gear and the lights go out, that was so quick. Your first reaction is to let the clutch go and the car stalled, a mistake.

"We started the car in the pit lane and started driving as fast as possible to make up for the lost time. The safety car came out just at the right moment, when we had to do our pitstop. Because of this we were in eighth spot. I had a really good restart and was next to Enge. Suddenly they all stopped in front of me. I braked late and was lucky to go in between without hitting anyone, so we were able to stay on the track. Two turns later I passed two guys at once in one go on the outside.

"Firman pushed me to the side a little bit, but we didn't hit each other. Then you have the chance to pass him on the outside, but that was a bit too optimistic and I braked much too late. Then I hit Germany. The restart was awesome though, that's one of the best things about this series, you all have the same top speed on the straight. It's finding the gap and brake later then the others."

Team Holland franchise holder Jan Lammers was pleased with Holland's best A1GP result to date in the sprint race and even though Verstappen recorded the team's third DNF in six races, the Racing for Holland boss was happy with the progress made by the team over the weekend.

"The Sprint race went completely according to plan," said Lammers. "We even were almost third in the first round. We managed to consolidate and got the maximum out of the car. In the Sprint race you drive with one set of tyres, the Feature race off course you use two sets. In the Sprint race we drove on the set that was worst of the three and to get a fourth is just perfect.

"In the second race we even had the fastest lap in the first part of the race. After the problems at the start they sent out the safety car, which was great for us. We were able to make up some lost time. From then on the lap times were good. So as far as that is concerned we have made a lot of progress since the last race and we just have to keep doing that.

"The crash is just a crash, that's racing. But you have to look at the result of the weekend. There we made progress as a team and with the car. The things we had to improve went better, so we must continue in that direction. We climbed from twelfth to tenth in the Championship, that is the end result and a small comfort. Despite the non-finish in the main race we have improved our position.

"The pitstop was one of the fastest of the day, that's going in the right direction and our moments of glory will surely come. This weekend we had a little signal of improvement with the fourth place and our grid position. Too bad we went out in the last race, but what is superb is the appreciation for this Championship. The racing is nice to watch, very spectacular and that's good. Now we have to take some prizes in this Championship. For sure, that's going to happen".

After three of twelve rounds, Team Holland currently sit 12th overall with 15 points, 35 markers behind current leaders France.

 

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