MINARDI TEAM USA LOOKING FOR A CHANGE OF FORTUNE Edmonton, Alberta -- It was a sizzling day at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, third round of the Canadian Triple Crown, but despite the near-perfect weather conditions, Minardi Team USA ...
MINARDI TEAM USA LOOKING FOR A CHANGE OF FORTUNE
Edmonton, Alberta -- It was a sizzling day at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, third round of the Canadian Triple Crown, but despite the near-perfect weather conditions, Minardi Team USA drivers 'Speedy' Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos weren't able to achieve the sort of results of which they are more than capable. They finished ninth and eleventh, respectively, in the second qualifying round of the weekend.
'Speedy' Dan Clarke did a nice job overcoming a big crash yesterday morning, which prevented him from participating in the first round of qualifications. Minardi Team USA personnel worked relentlessly, however, to get Dan's weekend back on course and arrive at a viable chassis set-up for the Edmonton track, and their efforts ultimately paid off. They found a good balance for the car, and even though Dan couldn't get the Bridgestone Red "Option" tires to work as well as he would have liked, he will start tenth in tomorrow's race.
'Speedy' Dan Clarke
"We recovered well from yesterday and knew we could do well in today's qualification. We were playing catch-up a bit, since we missed an entire session yesterday, but I think we are good for the race. We had a few wrinkles in the set-up as a result of this, but we are satisfied to be in the top ten, even if it would have been nice to be a bit closer to the front. All the guys did a great job bringing the car back together, and I'm grateful to them for that. There were so many red flags out there today, and I think anything could happen in the race."
Robert Doornbos brushed the wall in the final practice session, just before qualifying commenced, and was forced to sit in the pits while the crew repaired some light suspension damage. Fortunately, it didn't affect his first qualifying run unduly, as a red flag came out early on in the session. On Robert's final stint, however, an alternator failure affected his car's gear selection, and he was forced to call it a day.
"This was obviously a disappointing qualifying session for us. It started out with the overall feeling of the car improved as a result of changes we made during the morning practice session, but then on my second run this afternoon, on fresh reds, I encountered a shifting problem. This was later traced to the car's power supply, but it meant I had to pit before completing the run. It's not great to be starting from 11th on the grid, but it's definitely possible to get a podium from there, and that's what we'll be aiming for tomorrow."
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-owner
"It's been an unsatisfactory day, and this is clearly not the sort of performance we need if we're to be contenders for the Championship this year. That said, we know the race is still likely to hold lots of opportunities, so although we'll be annoyed tonight, we'll come out fighting tomorrow."
Paul Stoddart, Team Co-owner
"Today's qualifying session was not one of our better efforts, but the situation wasn't helped by an alternator failure on Robert's car, which denied him the chance of completing his final run. All in all, it's been a tough start to the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton weekend, and we'll definitely be looking for better things in tomorrow's race."