Former Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan held off New Zealand’s Jonny Reid to claim India’s maiden A1GP World Cup of Motorsport victory in the feature race in China.
India capitalised on two solid pit stops and steady race speed throughout the eventful 45 laps in Zhuhai to hold off New Zealand over the final 15 laps as Reid claimed an impressive second place from the fifth row of the grid.
Adrian Zaugg and South Africa claimed a hard-fought third place ahead of sprint race winners Germany, with Great Britain, Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, China and USA rounding out the top 10.
“It’s a great day. We are a good team and we work hard and we deserve it,” said Karthikeyan after India became the 14th nation to win in A1GP.
“The weekend has gone very well and I hope this is the start of our season.”
Great Britain’s Oliver Jarvis, who claimed the bonus point for posting the fastest lap, had grabbed the lead going into the first corner after edging Switzerland’s pole sitter Neel Jani from second place, but slipped down the field after two poor pit stops.
Jani missed out on a chance to extend the lead at the top of the overall standings after a disastrous second pit stop saw him hand the lead to Karthikeyan in the pit lane.
Loic Duval and France also suffered in the pit lane as they were given a drive through penalty after running over an air hose from Team USA which knocked over one of the American mechanics.
China grabbed ninth from Jonathan Summerton in the closing laps as the American went off track trying to defend his position.
Earlier in the sprint race, pole sitter Michael Ammermuller held off series leaders Switzerland as Germany claimed their first win of the season by 0.601 seconds.
German rookie Ammermuller dominated the race from lights to flag, holding off Jani to cross the line just over half a second ahead of title leader Switzerland, who claimed the bonus point for the fastest lap.
“It was a very nice race. We did a good job yesterday in qualifying and we had a good start today,” said Ammermuller.
“The car was very good and I didn’t make any mistakes. The last race in Sepang wasn’t so nice but this time the start was a lot better and I’m happy.”
China’s CongFu Cheng made a sensational move past Ireland’s Adam Carroll, who finished fourth, on lap 10 to grab third place and claim the first podium finish of his career and China’s first of the season.