A1 Grand Prix’s first race at the Kyalami circuit in South Africa was dominated by the Netherland’s Jeroen Bleekemolen.
Bleekemolen started from pole position alongside Filipe Albuquerque. But the Portuguese driver was beaten to the first corner by Neel Jani, which allowed Bleekemolen to quickly extend his lead.
On lap two Clivio Piccione lunged past Narain Karthikeyan for fourth place, and Ireland’s Adam Carroll took the opportunity to follow past into fifth, demoting Karthikeyan another place.
Karthikeyan dropped back, holding up the home car of Adrian Zaugg, Nicolas Prost in the French entry, Fairuz Fauzy, Earl Bamber and most of the rest of the field.
Most of the leaders streamed into the pits as soon as the pits were open, with Albuqueruque and Carroll staying out for one more lap. This played into their hands as Jani was held up by Fauzy on his way out of the pits.
This played into Albuquerque’s hands, as he inherited the second place he has lost to Jani, who fell to third.
With five laps to go a dismal race for Danny Watts came to an end at the first corner. He banged wheels with the Brazil car of Felipe Guimarães, punctured a tyre, and spun off.
Despite the British car being stuck in a vulnerable position the safety car was not summoned, allowing Bleekemolen to retain his lead to the flag. Albuquerque and Jani were second and third, while Carroll snatched fourth off Piccione on the final lap.