CHALLENGING WEEKEND RESULTS IN TOP-10 FINISH FOR "SPEEDY" Edmonton, Alberta -- Minardi Team USA drivers 'Speedy' Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos ended the weekend at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton with a sigh of relief that this challenging...
CHALLENGING WEEKEND RESULTS IN TOP-10 FINISH FOR "SPEEDY"
Edmonton, Alberta -- Minardi Team USA drivers 'Speedy' Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos ended the weekend at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton with a sigh of relief that this challenging event was over. Both drivers struggled to find speed all weekend, and after starting tenth (Dan) and eleventh (Robert), only Dan managed to improve in the race -- to eighth -- while Robert ended his day in the same position in which he started after an on-track incident with another car.
'Speedy' Dan climbed what seemed like a mountain today in the sweltering conditions for which Edmonton is known. Early in the race, his drinks bottle appeared to have failed, but somehow he got it working, thankfully before too much time had passed. He then had a grassy off-course excursion while on cold tires, but recovered well and turned some very fast laps while moving back up to tenth. 'Speedy' put his head down and eventually passed Heylen and Jani to claim eighth position. After the race, the young Briton came on the radio to issue a heart-felt "thank you" to his crew for their help in bringing his car home today.
'Speedy' Dan Clarke 8th Position
"I think we made the best of a bad job, and ended the weekend on a positive note with a top-10 finish. We never did succeed in hitting the nail on the head with the car balance, and that made for a tough race, which was made tougher by the physicality of this track and the humidity. I'm happy we were able to come back and grab a few positions in the end -- it gives me a lot of confidence. Importantly, this was also a weekend of learning for me, and what I learned is that I've been putting too much pressure on myself. I've really felt the effects of it over the last few days, and it made for a very tough race today, so now I'm going to take it easy, get a good night's sleep and relax this coming week in the knowledge that we did the best job we could today."
Robert came into the weekend at Edmonton in the Championship points lead, but unfortunately fell to second place with his eleventh place finish in today's race. Robert was quickest in this morning's warm-up, but despite making progress with the car's set-up, wasn't as fast as his nearest Championship rivals. He was running a steady pace, looking for a top-six finish, when another competitor (who was a lap down) launched an overly optimistic move into turn one, making contact with Robert and causing both to spin. Fortunately, Robert narrowly avoided the wall, but went a lap down as a result, and had to settle for eleventh position at the checkered flag. He is now 20 points behind Sebastien Bourdais and five ahead of Will Power in the Championship standings.
Robert Doornbos 11th Position
"We struggled all weekend really, except for this morning's warm-up, and we couldn't get on the pace for the race. We figured things out a bit too late in the weekend. It was a very difficult race and I'm glad that it's over. My car wasn't good enough to run with the leaders, and then Tagliani hit me in turn one and nearly put me in the wall. He was a lap down and I'm not really sure what he was trying to do, but it put me a lap down because the car spun and stalled, and that was effectively the end of my race. I'm looking forward to a real street circuit again, where hopefully we'll be better."
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-owner
"I guess that rounded off a weekend that was unsatisfactory. We weren't particularly special all weekend, and things sure didn't go our way. We'll have to get things sorted out before we go to San Jose and perform better there."
Paul Stoddart, Team Co-owner
"Despite the effect an ill-judged charge by Tagliani, who was a lap down at the time, had on Robert's race -- three places and a potential five points -- we will simply have to do better than we have done this weekend if we are to contend for the Championship. Despite Robert's P1 in this morning's warm-up, we just didn't have the pace today to make up for our poor qualifying performance. Dan did a creditable job, and were it not for his off-track excursion, would certainly have finished higher in the points this afternoon."