Fresh from having scored New Zealand's first win in the sprint event, Jonny Reid doubled up at Sentul with victory in the feature race, albeit only after overcoming a sodden start, a drying track and a dramatic two-lap shootout in the final stages.

Capturing the maximum 16 points for victory in both races, Reid's feature glory was far from as easy as his lights-to-flag triumph in the sprint race, the Japanese F3 driver instead having to embark on a topsy-turvy race that seemed to switch in favour of both New Zealand and Germany throughout the 47-laps.

Having seen the race brought forward to avoid heavy forecasted afternoon showers, it was then delayed back to its original time when a shower in the morning forced organisers to revert back to the old strategy.

With each team starting on wet tyres, it did not take long for Niko Hulkenberg to remind everyone of his undoubted pace in the wet, the German streaking into an early lead from fifth on the grid just as he had done at Malaysia.

Belting out numerous quick laps, Hulkenberg raced away from Reid, who was holding sway from Mexico and Great Britain initially, while Alan van der Merwe had made a superb start from eight for South Africa to be running as high as fifth overall.

The turning point came at around the twenty lap mark though when the track began to produce a dry line just as pit stops were beginning to be made.

With teams watching the first drivers to pit for slick tyres carefully, it was not long until the whole field had dived into the pit lane to take on new rubber.

The switch to dry tyres, and seemingly a quick alteration of his set-up, duly prompted a marvellous comeback by Reid, who managed to reduce a 13 seconds gap down to barely anything in six laps as Hulkenberg began to look fallible in the ever improving conditions.

Up to the tail of the German car by lap 26, Reid wasted no time in making his advantage count, slipping past the ailing Hulkenberg to sprint into the lead.

On the same lap further back, France, USA and Great Britain were embroiled in their own intense scrap, culminating in Kerr leapfrogging both his rivals to end the lap third having started it fifth, with Philip Giebler holding onto fourth and Nicolas Lapierre slipping to fifth.

The top five would each make their second pit stops over the next few laps, shaking out the order to New Zealand in the lead, followed by Germany, now 19 seconds behind after a tardy pit stop, Great Britain third, France back ahead of the USA in fourth and fifth, with Netherlands, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Malaysia and Canada rounding out the top ten.

With the track now having reached its optimum ability, the lap times began to tumble, with Germany, France and Italy, who were belying their position outside the top ten to pump in front running times, trading fastest laps.

Indeed, Lapierre was on the move having dispatched USA through the pit stops, quickly catching and passing Kerr for third, who only a few laps earlier had been looking as though he would past Hulkenberg for second.

However, Kerr's race would only deteriorate terminally a few laps later when he spun off at turn four and was forced to retire from fourth place. Together with Sean McIntosh having pulled off the circuit from tenth when a faulty nut caused his wheel to come off, the safety car was called with only eight minutes of the race remaining.

A few confusing moments ensued as the safety car picked up Hulkenberg instead of Reid, allowing the New Zealander to effectively go a lap ahead of the remaining pack. However, while the order was soon rectified, in his hastiness to catch up with the pack, Giebler managed to spin off the circuit and drop from fourth to tenth, the American lucky that any driver in eleventh and below were already a lap behind and therefore not able to pass him.

With the top ten now all within just a handful of seconds of each other, a three and a half minute sprint to the chequered flag followed with Reid getting the hammer down straight away to immediately set the fastest lap of the race as Hulkenberg attempted to hold onto the tail of the Kiwi car.

As it happens, Reid was able to hold off the German by just over a second for a famous double victory that rockets the team up the order from 12th to fifth place in the standings.

Hulkenberg's second place has helped Germany increase their lead in the standings over the hapless Great Britain, the team having opened up a formidable 12 point lead over their rivals.

Behind the top two, Lapierre was left behind somewhat, finding it difficult to find his way past the lapped Ryan Briscoe and unable to utilise the pace in the latter stages that saw him surge back through the order.

Still, even his comeback was overshadowed by a stunning drive through the field by Enrico Toccacelo for Italy, who had barely featured in the top fifteen over the first half of the race, only for his pit stop to seemingly revitalise his car and allow him to set several fastest laps on the way to fourth place, passing three cars in the two remaining laps at the end.

Despite disappointingly losing fourth on the final lap, Jeroen Bleekemolen was a solid fifth for Netherlands, just ahead of Alex Yoong for Malaysia who's sixth place will be a reward on what has been a tough weekend for the double Brno winners.

Finishing seventh was race one podium winner Mexico, while taking points on his debut in eight was Jaroslav Janis for Czech Republic, even if he had run as high as fifth in the closing stages before falling foul of a charging Italy, Malaysia and Mexico over the last couple of laps.

Still, he did manage to hold off Neel Jani for Switzerland throughout the whole race, the Sepang winner a disappointing ninth after a tough weekend, Giebler had to settle for an unsatisfying tenth.

 

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