Eastern Creek: Team USA Saturday report

Seventh from Heaven A1 Team USA to start seventh in Australian A1GP EASTERN CREEK, Australia-The Eastern Creek circuit, near Sydney, Australia is notoriously hard on tires. Competitors can expect to...

                             Seventh from Heaven

A1 Team USA to start seventh in Australian A1GP

EASTERN CREEK, Australia-The Eastern Creek circuit, near Sydney, Australia is notoriously hard on tires. Competitors can expect to make one good run on a set before wear sets in and the times fall away. Saturday afternoon, Team USA saved its best tires for last, and posted two laps in 1:18s bracket to secure the 7th starting spot for Sunday's sprint race.

In his first qualifying attempt, Phil Giebler, driving the "We The People" car was as fast as anyone in the first and second sectors. Then, at the turn 9 hairpin, the car skidded sideways, destroying any hope of a good time. After first qualifying, Team USA found itself in 22nd spot.

A solid second outing and a 1:19.83s lap put the car and the team back on the map. With two sets of tires and two qualifying runs to go, Giebler responded with a 1:18.74s effort and a particularly fast time in the 3rd sector of the track. Still, A1 Team USA was only up to 12th place, and another good time was required. A final tweak to the setup--and team and driver did not disappoint. A 1:18.64s lap took the car into 7th spot.

"It was an edge-of-your seat qualifying session and the pressure was really on," said Giebler following the session. "It came down to the last two segment runs and I had to put together some quick laps to assure a good starting position for tomorrow's race. My laps were very similar and we only missed a 5th place by 0.1 sec with the 2 laps combined. It's incredibly close out there! My goal for the sprint race is to get the USA car in a position to fight for the podium spots in the Feature race...that means getting a good start and picking up a few spots."

"True grit prevailed today for Phil at Eastern Creek," said A1 Team USA owner Rick Weidinger. "After an average final practice and a spin in the first qualifying segment, Phil went to business to record a respectable seventh position on the Sprint grid. I especially respect that we were down under going into the final two segments of qualifying but cool heads prevailed and our driver was determined to represent his country well. This is the type of test that really shows the team's mettle and character. Now it is time to seize that momentum and move up a few positions to secure a podium in the Sprint Race in the Land of Oz. Tomorrow we plan to emerge on top in the land down under."

The weekend's racing action for A1 Team USA culminates on Sunday, February 4th with the 20-minute Sprint Race in the morning and the 70-minute Feature Race in the afternoon. The outcome of the Sprint Race at 11 AM local time (7PM EST Saturday) will determine the grid for the Feature Race at 3 PM local time (11PM EST Saturday).

The A1GP race in Australia can be seen in the USA, Canada and Mexico on Wednesday, February 7th at 4 PM on the Speed Channel.

-credit: team usa

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Phil Giebler , Rick Weidinger