Shanghai: Team USA Saturday report

Summerton to start third in Shanghai Best start for A1 TEAM USA since 2nd in qualifying at Germany in first season SHANGHAI, China-A1 TEAM USA will start from third position Sunday in the A1GP - Worldcup of Motorsport...

Summerton to start third in Shanghai

Best start for A1 TEAM USA since 2nd in qualifying at Germany in first season

SHANGHAI, China-A1 TEAM USA will start from third position Sunday in the A1GP - Worldcup of Motorsport Sprint Race at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Prior to qualifying, A1 TEAM USA prevailed against adversity in today's third practice session. The team was forced to make adjustments to the braking system twice during the session. Only for his last outing did driver Jonathan Summerton find himself able to push, raising the We The People car from 12th place to 5th with a single attempt. The brake woes prevented the team from following its practice plan, but enough lessons were learned to go confidently into qualifying.

That confidence was justified when Summerton posted a 1:35.390, the fastest lap of the day to that point, to head first qualifying by 0.063s. The We The People car was on provisional pole. Second qualifying is a tire gambit, and some teams elected to roll the dice and use new tires. TEAM USA went with used tires, yet still posted a respectable, and highly competitive 1:36.077 for P6 in second qualifying.

Now with new tires for the two remaining segments, A1 TEAM USA was ready to fight for the pole. Fastest in sector 1, and competitive around the whole lap with a 1:35.469, the 18-year-old rookie placed P3 in 3rd qualifying and was now second in combined results. With a final tuning of the setup and new tires again, TEAM USA was ready to go for the pole.

All the fast cars left pit lane just minutes before the checkered flag. It was a shootout. Summerton posted a 1:35.41, a great time. However, New Zealand held firm to take provisional pole for a few seconds. Team GBR then pulled a 1:34.756 out of a hat, leapfrogging to the pole position, and pushing the We The People car back to the second row. Nonetheless, it was a good day's work. P3 is TEAM USA's best qualifying effort in over a year.

"The track has changed a lot since we arrived here" said Summerton. "I made a small mistake in every run. Maybe I could have found a few 10ths. Still, I'm really happy to be up front. I have a good car for the race tomorrow, and I hope to improve upon our third place finish in Mexico."

"I am really proud how the entire team is working well together. It's like a genuine boys' club-work hard towards a clear objective, and really like, enjoy, and respect each other while having some fun. Props to our guys and girl who handle the car so well," said A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger. "Tomorrow should be a great race, and I'm cautiously optimistic we will be on the podium again in Shanghai."

The weekend's racing action for A1 TEAM USA will culminate on Sunday, April 15th with the 20-minute Sprint Race in the morning and the 70-minute Feature Race in the afternoon. The A1GP race in Shanghai can be seen in the USA, Canada, and Mexico on Wednesday, April 18th at 4PM on the Speed Channel.

-credit: team usa

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jonathan Summerton , Rick Weidinger