Brno: Team USA qualifying report

USA's Giebler to start sixth at BRNO Small Error Prevents Top Three BRNO, Czech Republic-A1 TEAM USA's Phil Giebler will start from sixth position Sunday in the A1GP sprint race at the BRNO Automotodrom. Giebler's final...

USA's Giebler to start sixth at BRNO
Small Error Prevents Top Three

BRNO, Czech Republic-A1 TEAM USA's Phil Giebler will start from sixth position Sunday in the A1GP sprint race at the BRNO Automotodrom.

Giebler's final two laps [of four] in qualifying Saturday were his fastest of the weekend and placed him in the upper third of the 23-car grid for the second race of the A1GP season. They were nearly identical, 1:45.866 in the fourth segment and .011 of a second slower in the third. They averaged 114.078 mph. "It puts us in the ballpark," Giebler said. "We need to have a good start and take advantage of mistakes by others to move up a couple of positions for the feature." Giebler initially placed seventh but moved up to sixth when Team Great Britain lost their fastest time due to a technical infringement.

The 26-year-old from Oxnard, Calif., viewed his lap in the third segment as a lost opportunity. He was fastest in the field through the opening two timed sectors of the 3.36-mile track, but went briefly off course and it cost him about one second. Without the mistake, Giebler would have been on the second row.

"I'm a little frustrated," Giebler said. "I had a lot of confidence in the car for that run and brought the tires in well. We had a mega first two sectors. Going into the last 180-degree turn, I was a little optimistic on how much speed I could carry through and I picked up a ton of understeer. I went off the track and it hurt the next turn, too. That could have been one of the fastest laps of the day."

In A1GP's unique qualifying format, the top two laps out of four 15-minute segments are combined to set the starting line-up for the 20-minute sprint race. The line-up for Sunday's 70-minute feature race is based upon qualifying, fastest lap, and finish in the sprint race.

Giebler had been seventh in Saturday's practice at 1:48.350.

"This is a sport of mistakes and we made a small error and it probably cost us third spot on the grid," A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger said. "That's what makes this sport exciting, the close competition. Phil's third segment was one of the most exciting qualifying efforts we have seen. Seventh is respectable, however, we expect better then a third seven going into the Feature Race tomorrow."

-credit: team usa

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Series A1GP
Drivers Phil Giebler , Rick Weidinger