With Indonesia hosting its first international racing event, there was certainly enough excitement at the latest round of the A1 Grand Prix championship to whet the spectators' appetite for a return to the Sentul circuit next year.

Indeed, with wet weather, to crashes, to safety cars, to penalties, the circuit also threw up a surprise winner in the shape of Sean McIntosh who claimed a victory despite starting at the very back of the grid.

The Canadian driver, who before A1 GP competed in Formula Renault UK, took his team to their first win in the series - only the fifth different winner in 16 races - and he was certainly happy to hear his national anthem on the podium at the end of the race.

"I think the fact that I was racing for Canada makes this win extra special," he mused, "It's an honor to represent your country and that's what A1GP is all about.

"For sure we've been hearing the French national anthem a little bit too much in A1GP this season! You don't really appreciate how special it is to sing your national anthem on the podium until you actually experience it and it was definitely one of the best parts of winning the race. There were even a few Canadian fans down at the bottom of the podium singing with me!"

An accident on the first lap of the sprint race consigned McIntosh to last on the grid for the second race yet despite a drive-through penalty, a myriad of safety car periods played into his hands and saw him gradually rise through the field.

"After the drive-through penalty I just put my head down and began passing as many people as I could. When the final safety car came out the team told me that Great Britain and South Africa hadn't pitted and that I was really in second place. I was faster than the Czech Republic car ahead of me so I knew I had a good chance of winning."

McIntosh, who was a late entry to the series after Team Canada only committed to A1 GP just days before the start of the season, admits the hastiness of the project meant did not have many expectations going into this year.

"Our first goal heading into the season was to finish in the top-ten. Then after we scored our third-place podium in Germany our expectations were raised. We've been comfortably in the top-ten since then. Every team I've raced for and been successful with has had that will to win and put in the hard work to gain those results, A1 Team Canada is no exception.

"We didn't get to do any pre-season testing which has maybe hurt us a little bit but we haven't let that bother us. If you work hard enough good things happen and it all came together for us in Indonesia."

His relative inexperience among some impressive competition was also expected to be a stumbling block for the team, but McIntosh has single-handedly managed to get Canada into tenth place in the A1 GP standings, ahead of the likes of Tomas Enge for Czech Republic, Australia's Marcus Marshall and, perhaps most crucially, ahead of the United States, who currently languish down in 17th place.

"This is the first time a driver with my experience, coming from a 200bhp Formula Renault car, is able to showcase their abilities on a level playing field against drivers with Formula One, IRL, Champ Car and GP2 experience. Guys like Jos Verstappen, Bryan Herta and Tomas Enge are all highly rated and this year I've been able to show that I can compete against them."

The win though also signals the end of his time in A1 GP this year, with McIntosh handing his car over to Patrick Carpentier for the next rounds in Mexico and the United States, although the driver for the final round in China has yet to be decided.

 

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