France's Nicolas Lapierre duplicated Nelson Piquet Jr's Brands Hatch double victory by running as a largely untroubled winner in Sunday's feature race at the EuroSpeedway in Germany.

The second feature race in A1 Grand Prix history didn't supply the same amount of on-track drama as its predecessor in England but was an interesting affair nonetheless as one or two teething troubles began to appear in what was still a very young concept.

Firstly, the 36-lap distance was reduced by one tour when New Zealand's Jonny Reid stalled on the formation grid. In the ensuing formation period, both Holland's Jos Verstappen and Italy's Enrico Toccacelo were unable to engage a gear, forcing both to start from the pit lane. While Reid was able to start from his original position and both Verstappen and Toccacelo successfully getting underway on pit road, the series will need to look into this problem after two straight meetings where cars have struggled to get away under a standing start.

Secondly, more than one third of the field had problems on pit road, mostly with recalcitrant air guns and jammed wheel nuts. What was put down to first race nerves at Brands Hatch now appears to be a recurring equipment problem with the mandatory feature race pit stop looking like a bit of a lottery.

Lapierre had no such trouble when he made his stop on lap 15, relinquishing a lead he gained from the fast-starting Swiss entry of Neel Jani on lap four. Although the Frenchman had the fastest car all weekend, his run to the chequered flag was no doubt helped by pit stop problems for other front-runners Switzerland, Brazil, and Germany to name just a few.

One nation that seems to have mastered the art of an A1 Grand Prix pit stop is Great Britain, whose crew put in a faultless stop once again for driver Robbie Kerr. The teams quick pit work coupled with a simply storming drive from last on the grid allowed Kerr to move into an astounding second place when the last cars made their stops on lap 20.

No sooner had Kerr moved into second a glimmer of hope appeared in the form of a stalled Team India car on the main straight. With a recovery vehicle required the safety car was deployed, eclipsing France's nine second advantage and giving Britain a real shot at a remarkable last to first race win.

Once the field had been shuffled around into the correct order behind the safety car the green light was given with nine laps to go with France leading Britain, an excellent Canada with driver Sean McIntosh, New Zealand, a rapid Ralph Firman in the Team Ireland entry and the recovering Swiss entry of Jani.

As he did in the sprint race Lapierre wasted no time in pushing the loud pedal, opening up a healthy lead over Kerr before he reached turn one. A little further back there was contact between the ninth placed Japanese entry of Hideki Noda and Piquet Jr on the run to turn one as the Brazilian driver found himself sandwiched between Noda and the Czech Republic entry of Tomas Enge. Noda seemed to squeeze Piquet Jr, who bounced into the air as he brushed both Noda and Enge. While Noda continued undamaged, Piquet was out on the spot and Enge did just one more lap, ending a fine drive from the IRL driver after an early race drive through penalty.

At the head of the field Lapierre ran away unchallenged, opening up a three second advantage by the time the chequered flag flew. Kerr ran similarly untroubled to a fine second place for Team Great Britain, with Canada just holding off New Zealand following a protracted battle.

Jani muscled his way ahead of Firman for fifth place on the run into turn one on lap 28 but was unable to make a move on Reid while Verstappen completed a pacey run from the pit lane to take seventh spot, less than two seconds behind Firman.

Behind Verstappen, Indonesia's Ananda Mikola claimed a thoroughly deserved eighth place after a mature drive with Noda ninth for Japan and Timo Scheider finally wrestling the final points scoring position away from Portugal's Alvaro Parente in tenth place.

Eighteen of the 24 starters made it to the finish, with Team USA's Scott Speed, Italy's Enrico Toccacelo and South Africa's Tomas Scheckter among those who suffered mechanical problems.

 

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