Shanghai: Team USA preview

Great expectations for A1 TEAM USA at Shanghai "We the People" car solid, execution key SHANGHAI, China -- A1 TEAM USA arrives at Shanghai International Circuit this weekend with great expectations for the ninth round of the A1GP World Cup of...

Great expectations for A1 TEAM USA at Shanghai

"We the People" car solid, execution key

SHANGHAI, China -- A1 TEAM USA arrives at Shanghai International Circuit this weekend with great expectations for the ninth round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

They are based upon Jonathan Summerton's third-place in the Feature race and fifth in the Sprint in the previous round at Mexico City, ample evidence that the team has developed into a formidable competitor in the second half of the season.

"We've made tremendous progress with the 'We the People' car," Summerton explained. "We've been going faster and faster in qualifying and the races for four straight rounds. Leon Gutfreund, our race engineer, has found a good setup and we've been able to adapt it to each circuit a little better and we haven't peaked yet.

"We've communicated better as a team and we finally had the execution we needed at Mexico City. There is every reason to think our best performances are ahead."

Summerton, of Kissimmee, Fla., qualified a season-best third for the Sprint and seventh for the Feature at Mexico City. He's started seventh or better for six of the last 10 races. He's finished seventh or better in four of them.

"Execution is the key for us," Summerton said.

The 19-year-old is also improving with experience. Shanghai will be his 11th round over the past two seasons for A1 TEAM USA.

"I'm not making rookie mistakes," Summerton said. "I feel so good about the team and this car that I am expecting to podium in the last two races."

Summerton has unfinished business on Shanghai's 2.9-mile circuit, where he qualified third for the Sprint last season. He finished fifth in the Sprint, which became his starting spot for the Feature under the discontinued format used in A1GP in 2006-07.

Summerton was running third midway through the Feature before making a costly mistake that put him out and left A1 TEAM USA in 20th place.

"I just touched the curb in the second part of the chicane as I put the throttle on," Summerton explained. "It threw me into a spin in Turn Six and I ended up in the gravel. I'll learn from that."

A1 TEAM USA is 13th with 29 points in the 22-nation championship with Shanghai and Brands Hatch in England (May 2-4) remaining in the 2007-08 season.

"Our sights are clear! We can finish in the top-10 in the championship by performing to our capabilities," A1 TEAM USA Holdings owner Rick Weidinger said. "Our goal all season has been to be in the top-five in every race and we accomplished that at Mexico City. It's clear we're getting stronger and we want to move up as far as possible and build momentum for next season."

A1 TEAM USA is 16 points behind No. 10 China with a maximum of 32 points available in each round.

Summerton will have a one-hour practice Friday and a one-hour practice Saturday to prepare for qualifying and the races. Qualifying is Saturday and the 20-minute Sprint and 70-minute Feature races are Sunday.

-credit: team usa

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jonathan Summerton , Leon Gutfreund