Switzerland's Neel Jani scored his country's first win in the A1 Grand Prix series in a thrilling sprint race at Dubai on Sunday.
From pole position, Jani made an excellent getaway at the rolling start and took full advantage as fellow front row starter Nicolas Lapierre of France was slow to react, allowing Ireland's Ralph Firman to leap into second before Turn 1.
Lapierre challenged Firman on the exit of the opening corner, and contact was made between them, dropping Lapierre to sixth.
That promoted Great Britain's Robbie Kerr to third, with Nelson Piquet right behind him. But then Piquet was forced out of the race on lap two, and his car became the first in history to be retrieved from its resting place by helicopter!
Lapierre was on the move, passing Italy's Enrico Toccacelo and then slicing past Kerr for third. Under pressure from Toccacelo, Kerr then spun down to ninth on lap six. By this point, Jani had pulled out a 3.5 second lead over Firman, Lapierre, Toccacelo and the Czech Republic's Tomas Enge.
After hassling Firman for lap after lap, Lapierre suddenly lost 2 seconds on lap 13, and then compounded matters by spinning at Turn 14 and dropping to seventh. Then it was Firman's turn to lose speed, and he was powerless to stop Toccacelo (from 11th on the grid) and Enge from nipping past in the final corners to grab second and third places.
Firman finished fourth, ahead of Canada's Sean McIntosh and Indonesia's Ananda Mikola, who just held off Lapierre to the flag.
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Neel Jani Switzerland 26:56.613 2. Enrico Toccacelo Italy + 8.247 3. Tomas Enge Czech Republic + 9.024 4. Ralph Firman Ireland + 9.961 5. Sean McIntosh Canada + 11.192 6. Ananda Mikola Indonesia + 13.396 7. Nicolas Lapierre France + 13.926 8. Alvaro Parente Portugal + 14.884 9. Robbie Kerr Great Britain + 15.437 10. Alex Yoong Malaysia + 16.621 11. Jos Verstappen Netherlands + 17.610 12. Stephen Simpson South Africa + 18.306 13. Philip Giebler USA + 22.042 14. Hayanari Shimoda Japan + 23.367 15. Matt Halliday New Zealand + 28.865 16. Adam Khan Pakistan + 29.397 17. Mathias Lauda Austria + 30.688 18. Salvador Duran Mexico + 31.669 19. Tengyi Jiang China + 35.119 20. Armaan Ebrahim India + 44.885 21. Will Davison Australia + 1 Lap 22. Adrian Sutil Germany + 13 Laps 23. Nelson Piquet Jr Brazil + 14 Laps 24. Basil Shaaban Lebanon + 15 Laps