A1: Switzerland Wins in Malaysia

It was a hot and humid race, but that didn’t stop Switzerland’s Neel Jani from running a good race and finishing first at the sprint race held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this weekend. The win marks the fifth different team to win a race so far this season. It seems that despite the hot weather, it all came down to cool, calculated decisions.

A1 Team Switzerland can be very proud of themselves as it was quite an interesting race. Things got a little complicated right at the start of the race. The various cars were traveling in formation towards the starting grid, steadily picking up pace. But then Marco Andretti (USA) and Felipe Guimarães (Brazil) both managed to end up climbing over the back of Narain Karhtikeyan’s (India) car, which resulted in debris being scattered across the pit straight. The unfortunate incident brought out the red flag and suddenly cars that had been speeding up comfortably had to slow down, with the result that the cars at the back of the field ended up being somewhat concertinaed as they tried to cope with the backlash of the accidents without being involved in further accidents. John Martin (Australia) only narrowly escaped an accident by shooting left onto the grass at the last moment. The incident led to a 30-minute delay in the race and by the time the remaining contenders were all lined up for a restart behind the Safety Car, Danny Watts (GB) found himself being forced to head to the pits with a car that simply couldn’t’ be changed out of first gear.

Finally it seemed the race could continue. A1 Team Switzerland held the lead, but David Garza (Mexico) lost out on seventh place to Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands). As South Africa tried to make a grab for eighth place from Mexico who’d now lost seventh, the two were both overtaken by Fairuz Fauzy (Malaysia) who swooped inside to take the much coveted position. Unfortunately it didn’t last long as South Africa accidentally touched wheels with Malaysia as it attempted to once again get into eighth position. The result was a puncture for Fauzy which sent Malaysia to the pits. The day ended with Neel Jani (Switzerland) in first place, Loïc Duval (France) in second and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) in third.

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