Defending champions France endured a mixed weekend at Brno after Nicolas Lapierre secured a second podium finish of the A1GP season in the sprint race but was then forced out of the feature race in the early stages.

Starting eighth on the grid for the sprint race Lapierre produced a storming opening lap to reach third place and maintained the position until the flag to claim a podium finish behind Alex Yoong of Malaysia and Canadian rookie James Hinchcliffe.

However the feature race was a different story altogether, with an engine problem forcing the Frenchman to retire before two laps were run.

"The sprint race was not easy but I managed to have a good start and took advantage of the collision at the first corner," he said. "After the bad qualifying session we had yesterday, we have found what the problem with the car was.

"Finishing third in the first race, allowed me to start fourth on the grid of the feature race. However, I had an unexpected problem with the engine right at the start of the second race. For some unknown reasons, I was suddenly losing more and more power until the engine stopped. It is really a pity to finish like this, especially after our good result in the sprint race."

Team principal Jean-Paul Driot was equally disappointed at how the weekend had come to an end.

"Despite our podium at the Sprint Race, we are very disappointed as we encountered an unexpected engine problem at the start of the race and we suddenly had no power," he said. "This was completely unpredictable and we will now investigate what happened and look forward to a more positive race weekend in Beijing."