Durban: Team USA race report

Trying Day at the Circuit for A1 TEAM USA Day ends with accident but Summerton escapes serious injury DURBAN, South Africa-It was a trying day for TEAM USA in Durban today as both the A1GP Sprint and Feature races...

                  Trying Day at the Circuit for A1 TEAM USA

Day ends with accident but Summerton escapes serious injury

DURBAN, South Africa-It was a trying day for TEAM USA in Durban today as both the A1GP Sprint and Feature races ended prematurely for rookie driver Jonathan Summerton.

As the Sprint race got underway, Summerton went for the outside at the start. He briefly found a little space, but as the cars funnelled into the first hairpin the We The People car had light contact with Team Indonesia. Both cars continued undamaged, squabbling with each other for 10th place for much of the race. Unfortunately, TEAM USA's effort was brought to a halt with just two laps to go when a driveshaft snapped forcing the car to park at the side of the track.

"My first A1GP race was interesting and a lot of fun, if only we'd had a better result. Still, it was crazy going into the first corner. Some people didn't seem to use their heads."

In the Feature race, Summerton belied his 18 years, as the young charger avoided most of the first corner melee. He then maintained a pace as hot as the Durban sun, racing the We The People car from 20th place up to 7th. But disaster struck on the 34th lap as the TEAM USA car sustained damage in passing the car of A1 Team Mexico. Shortly afterwards, the car suffered a puncture to the right rear tire, sending Summerton speeding into the concrete barriers on the left. Summerton escaped serious injury, but was transferred to a local trauma facility for tests. X-rays later confirmed that Summerton has a small fracture to his left hand.

"My hand is really hurting, but otherwise I feel just fine," said Summerton following the race. "It was a big hit. I braked hard and turned the wheel, but the car just kept going straight into the wall. I'm really sorry about the damage to the We The People car. It's such a pity, because we were having a great race. The start was a little crazy again, but I found a way through. We made up a lot of spots in the early laps. I was having fun out there--you have a lot of places where you can pass, and I had some great battles."

"We are so relieved to know that Jonathan is going to be ok, but it is upsetting to hear from the doctors that he has fractured his hand," said A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger. "Still, we are especially proud of the outstanding effort he gave and the speed he showed today-pushing so hard to move up 13 positions. Jonathan showed incredible maturity and focus for his age and experience. Nothing seemed to distract him or bother him during the race weekend. He is obviously disappointed in his accident but anxious to get back into the 'We the People' car as soon as possible. We wish him a speedy recovery."

The A1GP race in South Africa can be seen in the USA, Canada, and Mexico on Wednesday, February 28th at 4PM on the Speed Channel.

A1 TEAM USA currently holds steady at 12th place in A1GP standings with 24 points. Next up, TEAM USA heads to Mexico for the ninth race of the season in Mexico City on March 25th.

-credit: usa

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jonathan Summerton , Rick Weidinger