Rainy day blues: Rice qualifies 19th for Sprint, Feature at Zandvoort A1 TEAM USA struggled in wet conditions Saturday, with Buddy Rice qualifying for 19th starting position at Zandvoort for the Sprint and Feature races in the opening round of...
Rainy day blues: Rice qualifies 19th for Sprint, Feature at Zandvoort
A1 TEAM USA struggled in wet conditions Saturday, with Buddy Rice qualifying for 19th starting position at Zandvoort for the Sprint and Feature races in the opening round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.
"It rained on and off all day and the track was always wet," Rice said. "We tried to adjust the 'We The People' car for the conditions and never found the traction we needed. We made a couple of major improvements that lowered our lap times, but we needed more to move up the grid."
Rice qualified at 1:52.479 on the 2.6-mile, 11-turn circuit for the Sprint race, which runs 19 minutes plus one lap. The 31-year-old from Phoenix, Ariz., drove to a 1:49.924 lap for the Feature race, which will have a 69-minute plus one-lap distance. Both races are Sunday.
A1GP has changed its qualifying format from last season. For 2007-08, the Sprint and Feature lineups are established by the fastest lap from two 15-minute sessions for each race. Rice lost the opening session for the Sprint when he spun on his out lap. The Lola-Zytek wasn't damaged and he drove in the remaining qualifying sessions without incident.
"We have our work cut out for us in the Sprint and Feature races," Rice said. "The forecast is for a dry track. That should really help us to be competitive, but it's still a long way to the front from where we're starting."
A1 TEAM USA owner Rick Weidinger was disappointed but not disheartened.
"We had a difficult day coping with the conditions and we're not starting anywhere near where we want to be starting," he said. "But this is only the start of the season and we'll have much better days, hopefully in the Sprint and Feature races at Zandvoort.
"We will see Buddy Rice's racing maturity tomorrow. He is first and foremost a savvy racer with patience and experience. Although it will require a lot of teamwork and skill, I am cautiously optimistic we will find our way into the points for the first race of our third season in A1GP."