Brands Hatch: Team USA Saturday report

Summerton 11th in qualifying at Brands Hatch Teamwork keys recovery from early trouble LONDON--A1 Team USA's crew did outstanding work to provide Jonathan Summerton with a second opportunity to qualify Saturday and he made productive use of it...

Summerton 11th in qualifying at Brands Hatch
Teamwork keys recovery from early trouble

LONDON--A1 Team USA's crew did outstanding work to provide Jonathan Summerton with a second opportunity to qualify Saturday and he made productive use of it to put the "We The People" car 11th on the grid for the A1GP Sprint race at Brands Hatch.

In the opening qualifying session, Summerton set about reaching for the pole. He was running 1/10th of a second quicker than his fastest lap of the weekend as he entered Hawthorn Bend. Then it all went wrong. The car slewed left and right and traveled across the grass at high speed, eventually coming to rest after impact with the metal barriers.

Summerton wasn't injured, but was the A1 Team USA car too badly damaged to continue, a situation that would force it start Sunday's Sprint race in 22nd spot?

A1 Team USA's crew scrambled into action.. During the second 15-minute qualifying segment, the car was repaired, checked and pronounced ready to race. Summerton would have two segments in which to set the required two lap times.. In third qualifying, he circulated in 1:15.737, then showed his grit and determination in the fourth segment. Putting the past out of his mind, Summerton posted 1:14.771, the fourth best lap of the segment. The two-segment aggregate time of 2:30.508 moved him halfway up the grid to 11th.

"I caught up with some cars going slowly on their warm-up laps and tried to let them know I was there," Summerton said of his opening-segment incident. "I ran wide on the apex of Hawthorn and caught the bumps on the exit of the corner and it sent the car into the grass.

"The team did a great job getting the car back out there so I could make my last two qualifying runs. It was good to come out of the last session in P4."

In the morning practice, under saw warm, sunny weather, A1 Team USA made good progress. Even as the tires went well past their top performance, Summerton was able to maintain a degree of speed. The 19-year-old from Kissimmee, Fla., finished the session in third place with a 1:15.493, less than 2/10ths of a second out of first.

"We made the car much easier to drive today," Summerton said..

A1 Team USA owner Rick Weidinger praised the work of the crew.

"Our mechanics and engineers pulled together magnificently to get Jonathan back on the track for the final two segments in qualifying," Weidinger said. "They have him a solid car. It was an amazing recovery for us. It was unfortunate that we lost the first two segments, but Jonathan bounced back to put us in a decent starting position for the Sprint race."

The Sprint race will determine the starting grid for the Feature, the final race of the second season for A1GP, the World Cup of Motorsport.

-credit: team usa

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Rick Weidinger