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Podium success for Black Beauty


New Zealand driver Jonny Reid has put his team on the podium in the 4 th Round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Malaysia.

Reid survived a knock with Germany to score 3rd place in the opening 20-minute Sprint Race at the Sepang International Circuit, setting the fastest lap time of the day in the process.

He backed up with an 8th placing in the Feature Race held in trying, wet conditions. A torrential downpour soaked the circuit for the main race and the New Zealand team gambled that the track would dry and stayed with their original car set-up rather than tweaking it for running in the wet.

Reid felt like he was driving on ice as he struggled for grip.

"I had no traction coming out of the corners and had a few hairy moments when I thought we were going to spin out," Reid said. "But I told myself to just keep doing the laps, keep it on the island and do the best possible job.

"We had the pace and moved upward on the championship table, it was just a shame we didn't build on the Sprint Race result because the weather didn't behave like we expected and wanted it to."

Reid scored four points for his 3rd placing, three points for his 8 th in the Feature Race and a bonus point for the day's fastest lap - a first for the Kiwi team. The eight points more than doubled the team's tally from the first three rounds of the season, moving them from 14 th to 12th equal on the points ladder.

Mexico, the Series leader heading into this event, had a disastrous weekend, securing no points. Germany has rocketed into first place with a 2nd and a 1st today. The Germans now have 37 points, six ahead of Great Britain (31 points) and 13 more than three nations, France, Malaysia and Mexico, sharing third position on 24 points.

Reid's Sprint Race success was the first time New Zealand had been on the podium in 27 races since Matt Halliday's 3 rd in the first-ever A1GP race at Brand's Hatch last year.

Starting from second on the grid, Reid pulled level with Switzerland's Neel Jani going into the first corner, but the Swiss driver held his line to stay in front.

Germany's Nico Hülkenberg, however, used the battle in front to his advantage, driving round the outside of Reid into second position. There was contact between the New Zealand and German cars and Reid's machine sustained suspension damage, which affected the car's handling in the later stages of the race. Reid was distinctly unimpressed by Hülkenberg's actions - a repeat of their clash into the first corner at Brno, which led to both their retirements. With the German and New Zealand teams run by the same outfit, Super Nova Racing, the atmosphere in the post-race conference was frosty.

"I am not smiling as I was run into in the first corner by my team-mate," said Reid, "I am not happy about that. We will have to sit down and talk about it again as it is the second time it has happened. We are lucky that we both didn't go off. He was right onto my rear tyre and I think for the remainder of the race the rear suspension was a bit damaged. I am a bit annoyed about it but third place is still third place and it is still good points."

Reid later said he had stern words with Hülkenberg, who Reid claims was apologetic.

The 5th Round of A1GP action takes place in Indonesia in a fortnight.

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