TEXAS GRIT HOUSTON, TEXAS, April 22, 2007 -- Minardi Team USA wrapped up the third round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series today in Houston, Texas with another podium finish. Despite starting from 13th on the grid, Robert Doornbos drove ...
HOUSTON, TEXAS, April 22, 2007 -- Minardi Team USA wrapped up the third round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series today in Houston, Texas with another podium finish. Despite starting from 13th on the grid, Robert Doornbos drove impressively to claim third place in what was an exciting race to the very end. His team mate, Dan Clarke, was not so fortunate, eventually being classified 17th.
It seems Robert has quickly come to grips with rolling starts. He passed several cars heading into turn one, then settled in and concentrated on conserving fuel. He drove a clean, consistent race, improving his lap times and picking up places until the checkered flag flew. Today's result means Robert moves to third place in the Championship standings, 13 points behind leader, Bourdais. He also leads the Rookie of the Year standings after his second podium in three races.
Robert Doornbos (No 14) 3rd 59.384 secs/102.027 mph
"The race was amazing, and I am thrilled with our result! I made the biggest gain of the race at the very beginning, I think, as I passed five or six cars going into turn one. I took a lot of risks at the start, but that's what you have to do sometimes. I knew there were slower cars on the grid ahead of me, and I had to get around them some time. I was very happy with the car, and every lap was like qualifying -- I was really pushing it. My team was great, and the engineers' pit strategy played out perfectly. I'm learning about this whole 'saving fuel' strategy, and I did a better job at it today than in Vegas. I'm pleased we showed once again that we have the speed to be Championship contenders."
Dan Clarke (No 4) DNF 1 min 0.365 secs/100.369 mph
"We had software problems right at the beginning of the race, which were not the fault of the team. After that, and as the race settled down, we just tried to pull back as much as we could. The tires were good, the car was good, and I just pushed as hard as possible while watching the fuel numbers. Towards the end of the race, Jani and Katherine Legge had some sort of incident, and Katherine got into the wall. I came around the turn, found her car blocking the track, and with nowhere to go, hit it with the left front corner of my car. I managed to get back to the pits, but there was just too much damage to continue. It's obviously a disappointing result personally, but I'm pleased for both Robert and the team that we scored another podium today"
PAUL STODDART, TEAM CO-OWNER
"Two podiums out of the first three races is a fantastic result for Minardi Team USA. Robert drove a really sensible race, and combined with an excellent race strategy, brought the car home in a well-deserved third place. Sadly for Dan, after so much promise yesterday, luck was again not with him, a gear selection problem on the opening lap effectively ending any chance of a good race result. Despite the best efforts of the team, which saw Dan return to the track and set a series of competitive lap times using only 'manual' shift mode, his race ended on lap 69, when the car in front swerved, leaving him no other course of action than to join someone else's accident. The team will now use the seven-week break before the next race for extensive testing, both on and off the track, and looks forward to consolidating its excellent start to the season in the coming races."
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-owner
"Once again, I'm very happy for Robert and the team. They did a good job on the strategy, Robert drove a smart race, and that's what equals results -- in this case, a solid third place. Obviously, the aim is to get to the top spot, but two podiums in three races is good, particularly for a rookie in this Series. Sadly, Dan was plagued with another gearbox problem, as he experienced on the first day here and also at Long Beach. We're disappointed with these reliability issues, and very sorry for him, as once again in the race, it was clear he had a strong pace. I still have no doubt, however, that Dan's time will come."