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A1GP Germany Wins as New Zealand Takes Title Lead

New Zealand - A1 Team Germany's Christian Vietoris, who has been on sensational form all weekend, secured his first A1GP race win in this afternoon's action-packed Feature race at Taupo Motorsport Park while New Zealand's points haul put the home team at the top of the championship standings.

Germany was joined on the podium by Canada's Robert Wickens in second, the team's best result of the season, and pole-sitter France's Loic Duval in third. The local favourite, New Zealand's Jonny Reid, was on incredible form, racing to a brilliant fourth place, having fallen back seven places to 12th at the start. The points picked up this weekend put New Zealand two points ahead of Switzerland and France in the championship.

Ireland's Adam Carroll put in a superb performance to finish fifth after starting from 13th on the grid despite an early collision which led to an additional pit stop for the emerald green car. He was closely followed by Brazil's Sergio Jimenez who carried out some impressive overtaking manoeuvres on his way to sixth place, having started 11th.

South Africa's Adrian Zaugg, USA's Jonathan Summerton and the Netherlands's Jeroen Bleekemolen crossed the line in seventh, eighth and ninth place respectively while Mexico's David Garza drove hard from 15th on the grid to finish 10th and pick up his first point for the team on only his second A1GP race outing.

Previous championship leader Switzerland's Neel Jani endured a difficult afternoon, receiving two drive through penalties for a false start and for overtaking under yellow flags. The Swiss team picked up a bonus point for the fastest lap and finally crossed the line a disappointing 14th behind Portugal. Joao Urbano started sixth and had been on course to score Portugal's best result of the season, running in third for 12 laps of the race, until he was hit with a drive through penalty for crossing the white line on entering the pit lane.

Eight of the 22 teams failed to finish the race, including China's Congfu Cheng, who spun off the track from seventh place, as many were victims of the dusty and slippery track conditions.

A1GP rookie Robert Wickens, who was awarded third place in Malaysia earlier this season after the podium ceremony had been completed, was encouraged by his second place finish and thrilled that he and his Canadian team-mates were able to enjoy the celebrations:

'We're definitely making steps in right direction, from our first race in Zandvoort to where we are now. The car has improved a lot and the team finally got a decent result that we all deserve. We got a podium in Malaysia but I wasn't on it so this time the team got to celebrate and taste the champagne, so it was a great experience. The whole team did a great job today. There is really only one passing opportunity out on track and the team did an outstanding job in the pits.'

Christian Vietoris, who secured second in the Sprint race and a sensational win in the Feature, was delighted with his team's performance this weekend:

'It was a really brilliant weekend for us. The car was a little bit off the pace on Friday but we improved the car all weekend and we were on the pace for qualifying and the Sprint race this morning. The team did two good pit stops in the Feature which put me to the front and held me there. It was really hard to keep Loic Duval behind me, especially on the long back straight, but we managed to hold position and I am very happy.'

France's Loic Duval, who started the race from pole position for the first time this season, was disappointed with his team's third place finish:

'This race was there for us and we lost it. Sometimes it can happen. We were too slow in the pits and we lost first position but there's nothing more to say about that. It's really hard to pass here but I did the maximum I could. I was maybe more trying to push him (Christian Vietoris) to do a mistake because it was really difficult to overtake, but he didn't so he was leading and it was really difficult for me to try anything. That's why we did one lap more than him before the pit stop to try to get in front of him but then we lost a bit of time in the pit stop again, so we lost two positions. There is nothing else for me to say.'

New Zealand now leads the championship on 82 points, two ahead of Switzerland and France who are equal on 80 points.

The championship remains in the Southern Hemisphere and the teams will be back on track in two weeks time for round six in Sydney, Australia on 1-3 February 2008.

All results remain provisional while the stewards of the circuit continue to carry out investigations. Keep checking www.A1GP.com for further updates and the final results.

Feature race results

POS

DRIVER

A1 TEAM

 LAPS

TIME

GAP FIRST

1

Christian VIETORIS

GERMANY

50

1:10:40.168

-

2

Robert WICKENS

CANADA

50

1:10:41.348

+1.180

3

Loic DUVAL

FRANCE

50

1:10:42.193

+2.025

4

Jonny REID

NEW ZEALAND

50

1:10:43.199

+3.031

5

Adam CARROLL

IRELAND

50

1:10:44.256

+4.088

6

Sergio JIMENEZ

BRAZIL

50

1:10:45.285

+5.117

7

Adrian ZAUGG

SOUTH AFRICA

50

1:10:50.275

+10.107

8

Jonathan SUMMERTON

USA

50

1:10:50.802

+10.634

9

Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN

NETHERLANDS

50

1:10:51.343

+11.175

10

David GARZA

MEXICO

50

1:10:59.646

+19.478

11

Adam KHAN

PAKISTAN

50

1:11:05.727

+25.559

12

Tomas ENGE

CZECH REPUBLIC

50

1:11:06.674

+26.506

13

Joao URBANO

PORTUGAL

50

1:11:10.016

+29.848

14

Neel JANI

SWITZERLAND

50

1:11:14.619

+34.451

15

Congfu CHENG

CHINA

43

1:01:52.027

7 Laps

16

Alex YOONG

MALAYSIA

38

0:55:37.015

12 Laps

17

John MARTIN

AUSTRALIA

37

1:11:03.435

13 Laps

18

Satrio HERMANTO

INDONESIA

21

0:30:39.755

29 Laps

19

Robbie KERR

GREAT BRITAIN

4

0:06:21.667

46 Laps

20

Edoardo PISCOPO

ITALY

3

0:04:57.448

47 Laps

21

Chris ALAJAJIAN

LEBANON

3

0:04:57.889

47 Laps

22

Narain KARTHIKEYAN

INDIA

1

0:03:20.795

49 Laps

2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport points standings

POS

 NATION

 POINTS

1

New Zealand

82

2

Switzerland

80

3

France

80

4

Germany

65

5

South Africa

59

6

Ireland

50

7

Netherlands

49

8

Great Britain

48

9

India

28

10

China

28

11

Brazil

27

12

Canada

22

13

Mexico

18

14

Czech Republic

10

15

USA

9

16

Portugal

5

17

Italy

4

18

Australia

4

19

Malaysia

2

Fastest lap: A1 Team Switzerland set the fastest lap in the Feature race, lapping Taupo circuit in 1m.14.679s with a speed of 160.1 kph on lap 45 of the 52 lap race.

Next race: A1GP Sydney, Australia, 1-3 February 2008