Mexico City: Team USA Saturday report

USA's Summerton to Start Eighth in Mexico City Tenacity for sure MEXICO CITY, Mexico-A1 TEAM USA's Jonathan Summerton will start from eighth position on Sunday in the A1GP sprint race at Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. Saturday ...

USA's Summerton to Start Eighth in Mexico City Tenacity for sure

MEXICO CITY, Mexico-A1 TEAM USA's Jonathan Summerton will start from eighth position on Sunday in the A1GP sprint race at Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

Saturday morning's practice session, the last of the weekend, was a struggle. With only an old set of tires available, Summerton was forced to hang on tight. On each run, the car would show a different problem with the handling-understeer would turn into oversteer and the car would slide unpredictably. At the end of the session, A1 TEAM USA settled with a P15 (1:28.74).

"I really struggled there," said Summerton following the practice. "Those tires were just worn out."

The qualifying round, however, went much better for A1 TEAM USA. Despite his troubles in the morning, Summerton stepped up to the plate with a 1:27.555-good enough for 8th place in first qualifying. Second qualifying was on used tires. The times were closely packed and every fraction cost a place. A 1:28.111 equaled 15th place for TEAM USA.

For the third qualifying session, it was critical to make a good run on new tires. Summerton dug deep, and pushed for all he was worth. 1:27.363 was the result for 5th place in third qualifying. This put TEAM USA in position for a shot at a top five qualifying result with an equally good run in segment four. Summerton set off at a pace. Sector 1 was good enough to get the job done. Then, while entering turn four, the car hit a bump and spun off the track. Car and driver emerged unscathed, and Summerton was able to return to the racing surface and bring the car home. The fast time, however, was gone, but eighth place on the grid proved to be a fair reward for the efforts of driver and crew over a long weekend.

"I'm pretty frustrated," said Summerton. "The times are so close. Just a couple of hundredths would be enough to gain a spot. Fourth place was easily within sight. Still, it's easy to pass on this track, so we can definitely get to the front tomorrow. I think my car is capable of being very fast in the race."

"The day definitely had its frustrating moments, especially that fourth qualifying segment," said A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger. "Still, we've witnessed an amazing effort out of our team and driver so far this week. With that kind of tenacity on our side, I have no doubt that we will be able to move up the grid quickly and successfully tomorrow."

The weekend's racing action for A1 TEAM USA will culminate on Sunday, March 25th with the 12-lap Sprint Race in the morning and the 45-lap Feature Race in the afternoon. The A1GP race in Mexico City can be seen in the USA, Canada, and Mexico on Wednesday, March 28th at 4PM on the Speed Channel.

-credit: team usa

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jonathan Summerton , Rick Weidinger