Eastern Creek: Team USA Sunday notes

A1 TEAM USA's Summerton 5th in Sprint, speared in Feature at Eastern Creek SYDNEY, Australia--A1 TEAM USA's Jonathan Summerton finished fifth in the Sprint, but was taken out from a probable points-paying result in the Feature by overly...

A1 TEAM USA's Summerton 5th in Sprint, speared in Feature at Eastern Creek

SYDNEY, Australia--A1 TEAM USA's Jonathan Summerton finished fifth in the Sprint, but was taken out from a probable points-paying result in the Feature by overly aggressive driving by a competitor in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at Eastern Creek International Raceway in Sydney, Australia.

Summerton's run to fifth in the 14-lap Sprint was A1 TEAM USA's best finish of the season. The 19-year-old from Kissimmee, Fla., was seventh midway through the 42-lap Feature when A1 Team France's Loic Duval speared A1 TEAM USA in the right rear, breaking its suspension and ending Summerton's race in 22nd position.

A1GP Stewards penalized Duval with a drive-through for an avoidable collision. John Watson, television commentator for A1GP's worldwide broadcast, called Duval's move "clearly a misjudgment."

Summerton had mixed feelings about the sixth round of the A1GP season.

"We reached a new level with our fifth in the Sprint and that was good," Summerton said. "The 'We the People' car is running stronger with each round and gaining momentum. We were in position for another top-10 and maybe a top-five and it's upsetting to have our race ruined by a move that had no chance of succeeding. We lost points and a chance to move up in the championship."

Summerton started the Sprint from sixth position on a wet track that was drying with slick, dry-weather Cooper tires like most of the 22-car field. Although it rained during the race, A1 TEAM USA and the vast majority of the teams stayed out on slicks.

"We saw a couple of teams pit for wet (treaded) tires, but we were running faster on slicks and decided to keep going," Summerton said. "It was tricky and a couple of teams slid off the track, but we brought it home."

For the Feature race, Summerton lined-up seventh, but New Zealand and France had mechanical problems just prior to the green light and were forced to start from the back.

It was raining at the start and A1 TEAM USA was among 20 cars starting on slick tires.

"We were really fifth at the start," Summerton said. "We couldn't find traction and fell back a few positions, but we were back to fifth at the end of the first lap. We had a solid hold on fifth when we made our first mandatory pit stop."

Once the pit stops had been completed, A1 TEAM USA was seventh.

"The car wasn't as drivable and all we did was change the tires," Summerton said. "We had less grip and more understeer. It was twitchy. We were challenging Canada (Robert Wickens) for sixth and holding off France for seventh. Duval got alongside me in a couple of places where he couldn't complete the pass. Then Duval tried to overtake in a place if he'd been next to me he could have passed, but he was too far back and rammed us in the rear."

A1 TEAM USA scored six points for fifth in the Sprint.

"We are a better team than our points and standing in the championship indicate," Weidinger said. "We've had two races in two straight events of really bad luck. The team should be proud of their efforts in the last two rounds. I believe we are on a roll and just need to get beyond the bad luck on the track. We will keep our heads up as we go into South Africa. I feel Lady Luck will be with us. Clearly, this is a top-five team!

"As far as the hard hit by Team France on lap 21, I am sure the French driver did not do it on purpose. I have received many emails and calls saying how 'boneheaded' his racing move was. I don't even know what that means. This is all part of the sport. Although it was a very unexpected, aggressive move, in racing you learn to expect the unexpected. One top-five is not bad. Our goal remains two top-fives per race weekend."

A1 TEAM USA is 15th in the championship with 12 points with four rounds remaining.

-credit: team usa

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers John Watson , Robert Wickens , Loic Duval , Jonathan Summerton