Durban: Team USA Saturday notes

Summerton qualifies 14th for Sprint, 16th for Feature at South Africa DURBAN, South Africa -- A1 TEAM USA's Jonathan Summerton was frustrated Saturday after qualifying 14th for the Sprint and 16th for the Feature at the A1GP World Cup of ...

Summerton qualifies 14th for Sprint, 16th for Feature at South Africa

DURBAN, South Africa -- A1 TEAM USA's Jonathan Summerton was frustrated Saturday after qualifying 14th for the Sprint and 16th for the Feature at the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Durban, South Africa.

"We had sessions from hell," Summerton said. "Red flags caused us to lose our hot laps on new tires for the Sprint and Feature. It was so annoying. I know we have a car capable of the top five, but we just didn't have any luck at all. I am really upset and disappointed about the result. I was really hoping we could be in the front row."

Summerton, who was fifth in the "We the People" car in practice on Friday, ran 1:19.815 in the second 15-minute Sprint qualifying session for 14th on the grid.

"We put our new set of tires on for the first session and prepared to go out about halfway through session," A1 TEAM USA team manager Marc Lawrence explained. "There was a red flag for a disabled car. Six minutes remained when the track went green and the New Zealand car spun out, brought out the red flag and ended the session. We didn't get to set a time and our tires were no longer at the peak of their performance. With the tire limitations in A1GP, we had to set our time on a used set in the second session."

In A1GP, the clock continues to run during a red flag. There were 16 cars that did not post a time in the initial Sprint session. Some of them had saved a fresh set of tires for the second session.

A1 TEAM USA had one new set of tires for the two 15-minute qualifying sessions for the Feature. The team decided to use them in the second session.

"We picked a good spot to have a run without having traffic problems, but just as we started our flying lap, the red flag came out for Ireland's spin," Lawrence said. "The timing couldn't have been worse. We had to return to the pit lane for a splash of fuel and make our run on used tires again. The tires are at their optimum for only one lap and when you lose it like we did, it's a nightmare."

Summerton ran 1:18.927 on the 2.04-mile street circuit for the 16th starting spot for the Feature.

"Circumstances worked against us," A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger said. "It's unfortunate, but that's the way racing can be sometimes. We need to overcome qualifying and score points in the Sprint and Feature races to regain the momentum we've been building. The team is working well under the leadership of Mark as he is dealing with many constraints on and off the track. We just need Lady Luck back. We feel the harder we work, the luckier we will become."

-credit: a1teamusatv.com

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jonathan Summerton