Alex Premat took victory after being gifted pole position in the A1 Grand Prix Sprint race at the Parque Fundidora in Monterrey, Mexico in an action packed first race of the day.

Overnight pole sitter Stephen Simpson for Team South Africa was penalised his front row start after his squad was adjudged to have placed some tape inappropriately on the front wing, and Simpson had to start from third position.

The rolling start was clean, but the first lap saw incident with Team Ireland's Ralph Firman and Team Mexico's Salvador Duran making contact. Firman had been a significant number of places up the road from Duran and the incident was not captured by the trackside cameras.

The incident did require the safety car to take to the circuit and a number of laps later, whilst still behind the safety car and coming on to the pit straight, Hayanari Shimoda for Team Japan used the Team New Zealand car of Matt Halliday up ahead as a launching ramp and was pitched into multiple barrel rolls from which the young Japanese emerged unscathed.

Once the three cars were cleared, and Halliday had entered the pits for the WSR crew to investigate, the restart got underway and once more it was the Team Netherlands car of Jos Verstappen which displayed its trademark feistiness on track with an aggressive wheel to wheel move on the Czech Republic car of Tomas Enge.

Verstappen used his PowerBoost down pit straight and the duo stayed alongside each other with an amount of contact which the orange car braved through to take the position.

Up ahead it was the French car of Premat which was making good from the Swiss car of Jani, the Frenchman having made a perfect getaway on the restart that Jani would have to work hard to redress. In third place Enrico Toccacelo back in the Team Italy car who had taken Simpson before the restart. Simpson was not having a good time of it and was passed by USA's Bryan Herta on the restart lap, and was soon dropping down the field with a problem.

No sooner had Herta passed Simpson than he had the presence of an orange car alongside him as Verstappen continued his charge, taking the race's then fastest lap in the process. Tomas Enge was the next to move forward, passing Herta in a move much alike the Dutch car's.

The next battle saw Robbie Kerr for Team GBR taking the fight to Team Brasil and Christian Fittipaldi. The battle had the added significance of the proximity of the pairing on the championship standings table, but it was contact on the track as Kerr got alongside and Fittipaldi closed the gap which arguably wasn't there. Kerr got spun and Fittipaldi seemed to get away with it, but the Brazilian car was soon going slow. Team Canada's Patrick Carpentier somehow made his way through the spinning pair.

The final laps at the front saw Jani closing in on Premat and Verstappen closing in on Toccacelo, with the latter duo trading fastest laps, a battle which the Dutch car ultimately won. Premat and Team France took the victory, but with Jani and Team Switzerland taking second place the championship cannot be won this weekend.

Top ten
1. France Alex Premat
2. Switzerland Neel Jani
3. Italy Enrico Toccacelo
4. Netherlands Jos Verstappen
5. Czech Republic Tomas Enge
6. USA Bryan Herta
7. Malaysia Alex Yoong
8. Germany Timo Scheider
9. Canada Patrick Carpentier
10. Austria Patrick Friesacher

 

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