Premat wins Mexican A1 GP race

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> France's Alexandre Premat beat Dutchman Jos Verstappen out of the pits early and held on to win Mexico's A1 Grand Prix feature race on Sunday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Alexandre Premat beat Jos Verstappen out of the pits early and held on to win Mexico's A1 Grand Prix feature race on Sunday. Every team but the United States took its mandatory pit stop by lap eight at Monterrey's Parque Fundidora road course. Not stopping helped US driver Bryan Herta build a lead of over 28 seconds, but he surrendered it when he pitted and finished 13th, 23.876 seconds behind Premat. Bonus point Premat won by 78-hundredths of a second over Verstappen, who was followed by Switzerland's Neel Jani, Timo Scheider of Germany and Italy's Enrico Toccacelo. The Frenchman also grabbed a bonus point by completing the fastest lap, posting a time of 1 minute, 21.1 seconds on his 17th trip around the course. Indonesian driver Ananda Mikola and Australia's Christian Jones collided on lap 22, forcing both teams from the race and bringing out the safety car. Verstappen was only slightly behind Premat coming out of the pits, but was never able to mount a serious challenge. Crash-filled race Earlier, Premat prevailed in the crash-filled sprint race, beating Jani by a bit more than half a second. Premat, who began the sprint race nearly a second behind pole sitter Stephen Simpson of South Africa, finished in 29 minutes, 20.743 seconds, 0.0283 seconds faster than Jani. The 22-car field started clean, but an opening lap crash knocked Mexico's Salvador Durna and Ralph Firman of Ireland out of the sprint. Lingering mechanical problems forced both teams to start the feature race late. Neither was able to finish. The crashes continued in the sprint race, even with the safety car out. Early lead On the main straightaway, Hayanari Shimoda of Japan tried to catch New Zealand's Matt Halliday. When Halliday touched his brakes, Shimoda slammed into him, rolled twice and landed upside down on the track. Simpson held the lead in the sprint race very early, but was eventually overtaken by Premat. His car lost power after the ninth lap, forcing him out of the sprint race for good. He did not finish the feature race. (AP)

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