CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston: Minardi Team USA Saturday report

TIMING IS EVERYTHING Houston, Texas (April 21, 2007) -- In motor racing, it's always a matter of timing. Minardi Team USA drivers Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos were reminded of that today during the final qualifying session for the Grand Prix...

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Houston, Texas (April 21, 2007) -- In motor racing, it's always a matter of timing. Minardi Team USA drivers Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos were reminded of that today during the final qualifying session for the Grand Prix of Houston, third round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series. Both drivers showed speed in morning practice, and again in the 15-minute session this afternoon. As a result, a strong qualifying performance looked to be on the cards, but the timing just wasn't right.

There was an early red flag when a car spun and stalled on the track. Dan, trying to avoid the disabled vehicle, brushed the wall, but fortunately didn't damage his car. Both drivers came into the pits for new sets of the Red "Option" tires, and prepared for their final runs. They went out with approximately seven minutes left in the session with high hopes. It was not to be, however, as traffic intervened followed by a red flag which ended the session. 'Speedy' Dan will start twelfth for tomorrow's race, and Robert thirteenth.

Paul Stoddart, Team Co-owner

"It was not what you would call a good day at the office today. Dan showed good promise in this morning's practice session, but his qualifying performance was hampered by a red flag on what would have been his hot lap, while Robert had a bad run with traffic. I think both drivers had the pace, but circumstances this afternoon prevented them from exploiting it fully."

'Speedy' Dan Clarke Quote:

"It was a bit of a messy qualifying session for us. I was on my first run, Katherine (Legge) spun in turn four and blocked the track. I came around the corner and, in trying to avoid her car, brushed the wall with my right front wheel. I came into the pits to make sure everything was okay with the car, and then went out for my final push with about eight minutes remaining. We had a good car, but then a red flag came out while I was on my flying lap and ended the session. I know we have the speed to be competitive, and it's frustrating we didn't get to show it today, but sometimes that's just how things go. It's reassuring for the race tomorrow, however, that we know we can keep the pace of the guys up front."

Robert Doornbos Quote:

"I felt reassured after the final practice session this morning that we would be quite quick. Unfortunately, the qualifying strategy didn't play into our hands. I couldn't get a clean lap, as I kept getting stuck in traffic. The red flag at the end then prevented me from finishing my final run and ended any chance of setting a competitive lap time. Sometimes everything just seems to go against you, and that was the case this session. We're not where we want to be for the race, but tomorrow is another day and we'll just go for it -- I want to be competitive."

-credit: mtusa

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Stoddart , Robert Doornbos , Dan Clarke