THE HEAT IS ON Mexico City, Mexico (November 9, 2007) -- The final race weekend of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season is now under way, and it is an extremely important one for Minardi Team USA, as drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan...
THE HEAT IS ON
Mexico City, Mexico (November 9, 2007) -- The final race weekend of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season is now under way, and it is an extremely important one for Minardi Team USA, as drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke stand to improve their positions in the final points standings. With the right results in Sunday afternoon's Tecate Grand Prix of Mexico, Robert could add second place in the Championship to the "Rookie of the Year" title he locked up at the Australian Grand Prix three weeks ago, while 'Speedy' could move up to 12th position, despite what has been a distinctly 'challenging' season for the young Briton.
As has been the case virtually all year, the circuit at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is new to Robert. He therefore used today's practice sessions to familiarize himself with the track, and although he set a good qualifying pace, it wasn't quite as good as he would have liked. Sticking with the black sidewall Bridgestone Potenzas, he was quick in the first half of the afternoon qualifying session, but then didn't improve as much his rivals when many of them put on new red 'Option' tires for their final runs. He sits 12th on the grid after today's qualification.
"It's obviously not where we wanted to be after the first day, but it is still early in the weekend. We're actually closer than it looks, since the times are very tight, but we need to improve, and therefore have some homework to do tonight. We saved our red tires to use tomorrow, and as we know there is a lot to be gained with them, hopefully we can move up the grid."
'Speedy' Dan is currently sitting in the 'lucky' number 13 position after first qualifying. The Englishman has been toeing the line today, sitting about mid-field during the first two practice sessions this morning. With the ever-changing track conditions, however, Dan didn't make as much progress today as he would have liked. As always, though, he will make his best effort in tomorrow's session.
'Speedy' Dan Clarke
"It's frustrating because we haven't made any significant progress since we arrived here. We had three stabs at it in qualifying, and rather than moving forward, we fell back. We'll work tonight to try and find out what it is that we're missing - we know we're better than this."
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-owner
"This race is important for us, so the pressure is on to get a good result. We're making progress, but we really need to be further up the order. Tires are important here -- quite a lot of teams ran on the Bridgestone reds today --so that is in our favor for improving tomorrow."