Surfers Paradise, Australia (October 19, 2007) -- It was the first day on track at the beautiful Surfers Paradise circuit and Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke were glad to be behind the wheel of their DP01s again...
Surfers Paradise, Australia (October 19, 2007) -- It was the first day on track at the beautiful Surfers Paradise circuit and Minardi Team USA drivers Robert Doornbos and 'Speedy' Dan Clarke were glad to be behind the wheel of their DP01s again for the first time in several weeks. With a messy qualifying session for some of their competitors, Robert and Dan ended up sixth and eleventh, respectively.
Doornbos sits third in the Championship, and is just five points behind second place Justin Wilson. At this stage, the goal is to move back second in overall standings, as first place in the Championship is mathematically impossible. For a rookie driver to accomplish so much, including two victories, is undoubtedly a success in its own right. For Robert, he attacks each race weekend with a refreshing gusto, and for sure the young Dutchman has a lot of fight left in him. As has been the case all season, every circuit on the Champ Car World Series schedule this year is new to Robert, and he has never turned a lap around the difficult 2.795 mile street course. He fared well today, and is currently sixth on the grid after the first of two qualifications.
"I am happy to be back in the office that is my Champ Car, and what a great place to visit after the break. All around, this event is very exciting, and it is a challenging circuit that is enjoyable to drive. We are working very hard to find the right set-up, and we're making improvements. Being in the top six today is not too bad, not the worst or the best way to start, but we'll have another chance tomorrow."
'Speedy' Dan sits eleventh on the grid, and after two red flags fell right in the middle of his fastest runs, eliminating his chance to turn a competitive time, the Englishman is still in good spirits. The day started out not-so-good, as Dan was sixteenth in this morning's first practice session. He and the engineers worked diligently to determine what changes to make for qualifying, and they significantly improved for this afternoon. Although, the grid position doesn't necessarily show it, Dan is content with today's progress and all are confident they can improve for tomorrow.
'Speedy' Dan Clarke
"It seems it was this way last year at Surfer's, there are always going to be red flags during the sessions. It happened to us today, we were just getting our tires up to temperature, and then there was a red. On our second outing there was a red. On our final run we had only one lap, and I had a good first segment. Then something let go in the gearbox. It's unfortunate, but the cards just didn't fall in our favor today. The guys did a good job, though, and the car is improving. We just haven't been able to show our potential yet. We need to be able to finish a quick lap, and hopefully tomorrow we'll get that chance."
Keith Wiggins, Team Co-Owner
"It was a bit of a mixed session out there today, and we didn't get to turn very many laps, but it's the same for everyone. I don't think we're very far off a competitive time, so we just need clear laps when it counts."