'BOBBY D' BACK TO THE FRONT, 'SPEEDY' DAN BACK IN BLACK Mexico City, Mexico (November 10, 2007) -- Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke improved in today's final round of qualifications at the Autodromo ...
'BOBBY D' BACK TO THE FRONT, 'SPEEDY' DAN BACK IN BLACK
Mexico City, Mexico (November 10, 2007) -- Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke improved in today's final round of qualifications at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Both drivers fought their way up the timing charts to with Robert laying down an outstanding lap, which was good enough for second fastest today, and puts him third on the grid for the race. 'Speedy' Dan was back in his matt black, stealth helmet for today's sessions, possibly a reminder to his rivals that they had best not forget the 'black sheep', who qualified eighth, and will start ninth in tomorrow's race.
Robert once again demonstrated his ability to adapt quickly to circuits that are new to him, and to find the speed necessary to qualify at the front. He had the benefit of two runs today on Bridgestone's red 'Option' tires, since he didn't use any in yesterday's qualification. This allowed him to put in two short stints, and the second one, when the track had the most grip available, proved to be the quickest. He set his fastest lap just as the clock was running out on the session. Robert's third place on the grid will see him starting ahead of Justin Wilson, with whom he is engaged in a spirited battle for the runner-up position in the 2007 Championship standings.
"It is my first time in Mexico, and it is not an easy circuit. We had a few things to sort out from yesterday's sessions, and we improved immensely today. The car was good, and I am happy to be up front -- both for myself and for my team. We'll hope for a good result tomorrow, and to finish off the season the way we began it."
'Speedy' Dan was struggling with the same sort of set-up woes as his team-mate, but working with his engineers, they found a much better balance for the car for today's qualifying session. Like Robert, Dan had two sets of red 'Option' tires available, and on the last lap of his second stint he set what was to be the eighth quickest time of the session. He will have to make up a few positions on the track tomorrow, but the Englishman will definitely be aiming to finish out the 2007 season with the best possible result.
'Speedy' Dan Clarke
"We have struggled today, but finally, with the red tires, the car responded how I'd been asking it to. We have a few things to look into that we believe will improve the car still further, but this is a good result considering how we began the morning. We're not at 100 per cent yet, but we should be good for the race tomorrow."
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-owner
"We can be happy we made good progress today, with Robert second fastest overall this afternoon. We think we should be in a strong position for tomorrow's race, which is obviously very important for the team. We're also pleased for Dan, who secured a reasonable starting position after struggling somewhat this morning."
Paul Stoddart, Team Co-owner
"Today provided a significant improvement over yesterday, which shows the team has made solid progress prior to tomorrow's final race of the 2007 Champ Car season. We were particularly pleased with Robert's second fastest time this afternoon, which means he will start tomorrow's race from third place on the grid, and we look forward to finishing the season as we started -- on the podium."