A PROMISING START
Toronto, ON -- Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke completed the first of two qualification sessions for the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto today at Exhibition Place. Both drivers placed their cars in the top five, despite two red flags disrupting the session -- Robert is currently fourth and 'Speedy' fifth. The team arrived in Toronto tied for the lead of the Championship, and in fourth place in the Canadian Triple Crown standings after the first of the three Canadian Champ Car events. They will be looking to move up with a strong showing in Sunday's race.
Robert Doornbos is still riding the crest of a wave following his first Champ Car victory last weekend, at Mont-Tremblant. The young Dutchman quickly acclimatized to the Toronto track, getting up to speed in short order during Friday's opening session. Robert has proven that he can win on a permanent road course, and now intends to show he is equally competitive on a challenging street circuit.
"It's fun to be back on a street circuit again, but it's often tricky to find a good set-up. We need to work hard now to get more out of the car, particularly in terms of traction. The way Champ Car works, we have another chance tomorrow, so we'll be aiming to improve our position in the second qualifying session."
'Speedy' also turned in a strong performance today, ending the day just five-tenths off pole. He was caught out on his first qualifying run by one of two red flags, but recovered nicely on his second run, and in the closing laps turned a time that would hold for fifth.
'Speedy' Dan Clarke
"We ticked off a few boxes today, getting in the top five for the first qualifying session. Everyone on the team did a great job, but there is still more to be gained. We have another day to find some more time, and we'll make another run for the pole. Today's session was useful preparation for tomorrow and race day, and we accomplished what we intended to."
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-Owner
"We are disappointed because we need to be out in front. We thought we had a good shot at the pole today, but that obviously didn't happen. We have a bit of work to do for tomorrow, and hopefully we can gain more speed and try it again. Dan made a good effort, as he secured a position in the top five despite his first stint being interrupted by red flags."