Solid Sprint, Frustrating Feature for A1 Team USA BRNO, Czech Republic-Phil Giebler scored one point by finishing sixth in the sprint race, but Sunday ended in disappointment when a mechanical failure knocked A1 TEAM USA out of contention for a...
Solid Sprint, Frustrating Feature for A1 Team USA
BRNO, Czech Republic-Phil Giebler scored one point by finishing sixth in the sprint race, but Sunday ended in disappointment when a mechanical failure knocked A1 TEAM USA out of contention for a podium to 17th place in the A1GP feature at the BRNO Automotodrom.
Giebler was running fourth in the 38-lap feature when he made the mandatory pit stop on the 10th lap. When the Lola-Zytek went up on jacks to change to fresh tires, the rear wheels continued to spin. "We came in, everything was normal-I had my foot on the clutch and my foot on the brake," Giebler explained. "I looked in my mirror and saw the wheels spinning. The clutch wasn't engaging at all. I had to shut the engine off."
A1 TEAM USA's pit stop took 67 seconds, including the time entering and exiting the pit lane-approximately double the normal length of time. Giebler fell to 18th place. "It basically ruined our race," Giebler said. "It was the longest and probably most frustrating race I've ever had. We lost at least eight points."
Giebler had the fastest lap of the race on the 12th lap at 1:47.820. He carved his way back to 13th on the tough-to-pass 3.36-mile, 14-turn circuit with seven laps remaining, but there weren't enough laps left to get to 10th, the final points-paying position in the feature.
A1 TEAM USA decided to go for the fastest lap of the day, worth one point- which had been done by Malaysia in the sprint race-and brought Giebler in for a second pit stop for fresh tires. But the track conditions had deteriorated since the sprint in the morning and it wasn't possible. It dropped Giebler four meaningless positions.
Giebler's sixth in the 10-lap sprint had been a productive start to the second race day of the A1GP season. The 26-year-old from Oxnard, Calif., almost didn't make it to the first corner after starting sixth. "I had a good run and all of the sudden, the German car (Nico Hulkenberg) goes flying in front of me," Giebler said. "I had to hit the brakes and just missed him. A couple of cars got past me."
Giebler was still sixth and stayed there for the sprint, which awards points through six positions. He was comfortably in front of Mexico's Salvador Duran and pressured the Czech Republic's Tomas Enge for fifth for most of the race. "It was an excellent result for us, my first point in a sprint race," Giebler said.
A1 TEAM USA has 10 points and is seventh in the World Cup of Motorsport after two rounds of the A1GP championship. "We've had a strong start to the season," A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger said. "The feature race today was very disappointing in terms of results, but we had the fastest lap and were positioned for a podium finish. Mechanical failures are part of the game."
A1GP's next event is Nov. 10-12 at Beijing, China.