A1GP 08/09: Ireland Seize Championship with Double Win at Brands Hatch
I would first like to apologise for the major delay of this article, as the races did happen at the beginning of May. Luckily, I've finally found some time to write it now, and I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to leave comments.
The end of the fourth season of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport, and what an ending it provided. Team Ireland, driven by the master Adam Carroll, led home a double win at the final round at Brands Hatch, Great Britain, to secure their first championship.
The Kent circuit was bathed in sunshine for the final round, with all the front-runners in the championship looking very nervous. Team Ireland and Adam Carroll however, were the least worried of the three contenders, as he gave the team a double pole.
Rivals, Teams Switzerland, and Portugal, were not so lucky however, starting low down the grid for both races.
For the first race of the day, all the attention was on Carroll, who seized control, and brought home their first win of the day. Although Salvador Duran of Team Mexico briefly took the lead from the word go, Carroll was still the star, even gaining an extra point with the fastest lap of the race.
India came second after a stunning performance, a great morale boost after their victory here in the Feature race a year ago, with Mexico finishing third.
USA, Portugal, Netherlands, Australia, and Switzerland rounded out the points finishers, disappointing for the other two championship fighters.
Team Monaco's engine caught fire at the end of the pit lane, leaving Clivio Piccione to watch the remaining 10 laps of the race.
Daniel Morad had an incident at Paddock Hill bend, spinning right in front of New Zealand's Earl Bamber, forcing both cars onto the gravel. Luckily both cars survived with no damage, thanks to some expert driving by the young New Zealander.
The weekend started off brilliantly for Team Ireland, and with the Sprint race win, Carroll's fortunes only looked higher as they entered the Feature race.
He started the race brilliantly, not conceding first place to Monaco alongside him, and dominated from then. No-one touched him as he drove to a double victory at Brands Hatch.
All the troubles during the season with his spin at Kyalami, 25secs penalty at the Algarve, and other chances when Neel Jani just pipped Feature race wins, all washed away as soon as he crossed the line.
Switzerland and Portugal were left standing on the track after such a stunning performance, and could only show their appreciation of the better driver on the day. Switzerland's efforts were heroic, but not enough, as Jani finished third behind Jeroen Bleekemolen of Team Netherlands, and with a cracked exhaust.
Felipe Albuquerque finished fifth for Portugal behind the ever improving Team Monaco, whose efforts from second on the grid were commendable.
Team Mexico finished in sixth with Team GBR's Dan Clarke putting in a performance to be proud of in front of his home crowd with seventh.
Australia, who received the fastest lap in this race, Italy, and France round out the rest of the points finishers.
After a brilliant performance in the Sprint race, India were not so lucky in the Feature, with China being nudged by USA and colliding into them at Paddock Hill on the first lap of the race. A contrasting difference from last years Feature race.
New Zealand retired again, with a spin at Westfield, putting the Black Beauty out of the race.
Malaysia also ran wide and retired but at Druids, an early finish to this season for them too, and Germany had an exhaust problem, forcing them to retire as well.
With the fourth A1GP World Cup of Motorsport over, a new champion has been crowned in the shape of Team Ireland, after a stunning double win at the Kent track, the only double win of the season.
Team Switzerland just missed out on being the first team to successfully defend a title, but all credit to them, and to Neel Jani, who pushed Adam Carroll to his limits in every race of the season.
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