A1 TEAM USA's Summerton 10th in Feature at Zhuhai
A1 TEAM USA's Jonathan Summerton finished 10th in the Feature race Sunday in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Zhuhai International Circuit in China, overcoming a pit stop delayed by a competitor's car sending a crewman flying into the pit lane.
A1 TEAM USA left-rear tire changer Orlando Ledesma was fortunate not to be injured in the incident. Summerton had pitted from sixth position and the stop had gone flawlessly. Then, A1 Team France's Loic Duval hooked the air hose to Ledesma's air gun as he drove past. Two other USA crewmen were also send tumbling and were not hurt.
Summerton was forced to wait about 12 seconds for his teammates to clear the car and re-entered the race in 14th.
"We had a good start," Summerton said. "I was able to pass one car on the outside in Turn One and ran well to the first pit stop. It was very hard to see my teammates on the ground and one in the pit lane with cars going by. When we returned to the track, the left-rear felt like it was a little out of alignment. We got back to 10th by the second stop.
"On the third set of tires, we lost grip on the right front for several laps. It finally settled in, but we had lost ground. I drove the car hard, but we were unable to gain any positions and took 10th. It's another point for us, but we would have had more if not for the problems caused by a competitor on our pit stop."
Ledesma had several cars go past him on the pit lane.
"As I was flying along the pit lane, I was just waiting for one of the oncoming cars to hit me," he said. "I got up and saw our car still there, and I shouted 'go, go!' "
Summerton finished 12th in the 13-lap Sprint on the 2.7-mile, 14-turn circuit.
"We struggled with the car quite a bit," Summerton said. "We had too much understeer and it was hard to put the power down coming off the corners. We struggled with the brakes. The track was also really dusty and it was crazy out there. I'm unhappy with the result.
"The team had substantial changes to the setup for the Feature. We had to start the car completely full of fuel to complete the 45 laps and the handling of the "We the People' car was much better. We had a top-five within our grasp.".
The 10th in the Feature was A1 TEAM USA's second straight and second point of the season.
"We're disappointed with 10th," A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger said. "We deserved a better finish in the Feature. We're thankful that Orlando (Ledesma) and our other crewmen weren't seriously hurt. Our goal was to score points in both races this weekend and we fell short of it. That's also a disappointment. The good news is we showed we could run in the top 10 in qualifying and the race. Now, we have to start doing it consistently.
"China did an excellent job in catching up to the 'We the People' car and passed us with five laps to go in their home race. The battle didn't end the way we wanted it to, but it was exciting to watch. It will be a different result the next time."
A1 TEAM USA's next event is Jan. 18-20 at Taupo, New Zealand, the fifth round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport 2007-08 season.