Alex Yoong delivered Malaysia their second ever A1 Grand Prix victory after taking advantage of a first corner clash for front row sitters New Zealand and Germany to claim a comprehensive win around the Brno circuit.

Adding to their win from last season's finale in China, Yoong led home James Hinchcliffe and Nicolas Lapierre for Canada and France respectively, winning the ten lap sprint race by a comfortable 1.6secs margin.

In a race largely devoid of much action, it was the drama at the beginning of the race that defined the eventual finishing order after pole sitter Jonny Reid failed to get away from the rolling start as well as Germany's Nico Hulkenberg, only for the New Zealander to switch left and clip the rear end of his rival going into the first bend.

Hulkenberg was sent spinning onto the grass and into the wall at high-speed and while Reid coasted round to the pit lane to change a punctured tyre, the damage was enough to join his sparring partner on the retirement list.

Their accident though had a knock on effect in the following order with several teams making the most of others being delayed to jump up the order, not least Hinchcliffe and Lapierre, who vaulted up from fifth and eighth on the grid respectively to end the first lap in second and third.

It was Yoong though was the big beneficiary from the accident, the Malaysian getting his car into the lead, steadily eking out his advantage throughout the race, despite Hinchcliffe desperately tried to keep up.

Nonetheless, the challenge never came, with Yoong never under any pressure as he crossed the line for an impressive win from a rapidly improving Malaysian team, a result that means he will start the afternoon's feature race from pole position.

"I actually benefited from a slow start, which put me clear of the trouble," he admitted. "We've had a tough start to the new season and I'm delighted to bounce back here at Brno. As we don't have a rookie driver, we don't benefit from the extra track time in the Friday session, but the combination of my previous experience here and the team's incredible effort overcame this."

Hinchcliffe held on for a superb second place on only his second outing in the Team Canada car having been drafted in midway through the weekend to replace the off-song Sean McIntosh, while Lapierre was a rather lonely third, even if he will benefit from an improved starting position in the second race.

With a top ten order that didn't change beyond the first lap, Congfu Cheng was able to secure a magnificent fourth place for China, their best result in the series, easily out pacing home favourite Tomas Enge in the Czech entry.

Indeed, the former F3000 and IRL driver made a great start but had to put up with immense pressure from sixth place finishers USA throughout the race, with Philip Giebler doing all he could to get past his rival, but eventually settling for the single point sixth brings.

Just out of the points, Mexico were seventh, with Switzerland, the penalised Great Britain and Brazil rounding out the top ten.

Round one winners South Africa, running with Stephen Simpson instead of Adrian Zaugg this weekend, retired with mechanical problems, while Ireland's Michael Devaney continued to struggle down in 13th place.

 

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