MINARDI TEAM USA--LOOKING FOR BETTER NEWS TOMORROW Edmonton, Alberta (July 20, 2007) -- It was not the sort of opening day to the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton that Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke might have...
MINARDI TEAM USA--LOOKING FOR BETTER NEWS TOMORROW
Edmonton, Alberta (July 20, 2007) -- It was not the sort of opening day to the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton that Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke might have hoped for. After the first of two qualification sessions, Robert is tenth and Dan seventeenth, the latter missing the afternoon session following an on-track incident in the morning. Friday's qualifying session was called several minutes early, and many drivers, including Robert, were unable to attempt their final qualifying runs.
Robert currently sits atop the Champ Car World Series standings, and also heads this season's talent-rich Rookie of the Year title pursuit.
"That qualifying session was disappointing for us. I kept getting stuck in traffic on my first stint, and then we were waiting for the track to go back to green and they checkered it early. It's unfortunate, of course, but we'll just have to give it our all tomorrow. I guess the session ended so that Tristan (Gommendy) could receive medical attention, and I really hope everything is okay with him."
"Speedy" Dan Clarke
"As for this morning's accident, the car just didn't ride one of the curbs properly and it pulled me into the wall. It was a pretty heavy hit, but the medical team was happy with my condition afterwards, so there's no problem. The guys worked overtime to repair the damage in time for this afternoon's qualifying session, and although they did finish it in the time available, an extra 15 minutes would have been great. We didn't want to risk going out unless everything was perfect, or we wouldn't have learned anything. The upside of all this is that we have good tires for tomorrow and we know we can be quick here."
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-owner
"It was an unusual day, having Dan's incident earlier and now this qualifying run. Unfortunately, we couldn't quite get Dan's car out in time for the session, but it will be ready for tomorrow. Robert's car was in good shape, but essentially he only got one timed lap and then the session ended, so we -- and most everyone else -- didn't get to do our second runs. I feel a bit surprised at the early call to checkered, but we'll have another go at it tomorrow."
Paul Stoddart, Team Co-owner
"There can never be any question but that driver safety is paramount, and in the case of this afternoon's qualifying session, it was brought to a premature end because an ambulance needed to be on track to attend to an injured driver. At the same time, also denied the thousands of fans who turned out at the Edmonton track this afternoon the opportunity of seeing the qualifying shoot-out they had undoubtedly hoped for. As for our drivers, Dan obviously didn't get any laps in this afternoon, and Robert only a handful as a result of the shortened session."