Minardi Team USA Portland test report
Inclement weather conditions didn’t stop Minardi Team USA from a successful test this week at Portland International Raceway. Drivers Dan Clarke and Robert Doornbos completed nearly two full days of testing despite the rain, and made the most out of an important testing event.
This was ‘Speedy’ Dan Clarke’s first test this season with the team, as he missed all of the pre-season events. His first time in the new DP01 chassis was at Las Vegas, but on Tuesday Dan turned the fifth quickest lap, with a time of 58.6 seconds. ‘Speedy’ stepped it up even further Thursday, with his 57.96 second lap the third fastest of the day. “We had a good day (Thursday), the rain hindered our plans a little bit, but we did what we came here to do, and it is great to be back at work. I’m so happy to be testing, and I feel confident we accumulated a lot of good information so the guys have some numbers to crunch when they get back to the workshop. Since I missed the earlier tests, I didn’t get to work with the car as much (as the other drivers), so this is a much needed boost for me and the crew. I really appreciate all the hard work from the team, and I think we are looking strong for the race here in June.”
For Robert Doornbos, this was his first taste at one of Champ Car’s few permanent road courses, and the Dutchman acclimated himself well. He had the seventh fastest time on Tuesday (58.8 seconds), and the sixth fastest time on Thursday (58.34 seconds). Robert is still riding the wave of his remarkable two podium finishes in three races, putting him third in Championship standings after his finish at Houston.
Keith Wiggins, Co-Owner of the team said, “Due to the weather, most teams didn’t get in as much testing as we would have liked. Overall, though, we accomplished a lot, and we were able to evaluate set-ups with the new car, and allow for Robert to learn the track. We are happy that we got as much benefit out of these days as everyone else, and we gained good knowledge to prepare for the race here in a month.”
Minardi Team USA will return to Portland International Raceway June 8-10 for Round four of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season.