CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Minardi Team USA Friday report

DOORNBOS PREVAILS IN PORTLAND Portland, OR (June 8, 2007) -- Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke ended the first qualifying session for the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland today, finishing second and ninth, ...

DOORNBOS PREVAILS IN PORTLAND

Portland, OR (June 8, 2007) -- Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke ended the first qualifying session for the Mazda Grand Prix of Portland today, finishing second and ninth, respectively. It is the tightest field we have seen thus far this season, as the split from first to eleventh place is .926 seconds.

For Doornbos, the session didn't start as well as it ended. He had a software glitch with the gearbox, but his crew quickly alleviated the problem and Robert was immediately on pace. He came in for new red "option" tires after his first stint, and then set his fastest time of the session with three minutes remaining. The lap time would hold-up for second place on the grid.

Robert Doornbos #14

"First of all, the team did a fantastic job today. They worked really hard after our two tests, and have really improved the car since Mont-Tremblant. I was sitting patiently in the pits during the first run while my team solved a small programming issue, but we got it fixed, and out on track. My second run, which was on the red 'option' tires, we were able to put in a good lap. We have to keep pushing and stay focused and hopefully tomorrow we can improve on today's result."

For Clarke, his qualifying run ended with a ninth place grid position. He began with a time that was good enough for fifth place for most of the session, but as the track temperature rose and grip levels increased, he dropped down the charts. Portland suits 'Speedy' quite well, and if the track stays dry tomorrow, he should move up on the grid.

"Speedy" Dan Clarke #4

"I'm glad that we are in the top ten, and not too far off, time-wise, but I'm just a little bit frustrated today. There is definitely room for improvement. The track is much different than when we tested, and we haven't been able to match the speed we found earlier. We are very capable of bettering today's result, and I look forward to tomorrow."

Keith Wiggins Team Co-Owner

"Obviously we had a good run today. Robert did a good job, but we are confident that we can still go quicker tomorrow. Dan is also fully capable of being in the top five, and just didn't have such a great session. We're happy that both of our drivers are up there on the charts, but we still must keep improving our performance every time we are on track."

-credit: mtusa

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robert Doornbos , Dan Clarke