Andretti Green Racing picked up points on its debut in A1GP despite disappointment for Charlie Kimball in the Zandvoort feature race.
On his first race meeting in the series, Kimball was able to take the Team USA car to eighth place in the sprint race and was running well in the feature race – both of which were held in challenging wet conditions at the Dutch seaside venue.
From eighth on the grid in the feature race, Kimball suffered an early spin but was soon making progress back up the field and looked set to pick up solid points as one of the quickest drivers on track.
However, just a lap after setting the fastest lap of the race, he slid off at turn five and became beached in the gravel, although he was still classified in tenth place in a race of attrition.
“The conditions were diabolical,” he said. “The feature race had gale force winds and pouring rain the whole time. It was to the point where, if there was another car on the straight in front of you, you couldn't see. The visibility was really bad.
“In the sprint race, we went a direction with the car that had some positives, but also gave me a balance problem that I struggled with the whole race. As a result, we only moved up from ninth to eighth and that's where we ended up. But, all in all, we learned a lot from it and learned a lot about what the car needs in the wet weather and how the car reacts to different changes.
“In the feature race, we spun on the first lap when I was going through the fast corner out the back. I hit a puddle, couldn't see, aquaplaned and spun. But, I kept the engine running, got back into it quite a way behind the pack and began to run consistent laps to try to reel people in. As people pitted and race went on, we cycled toward the front, made up some ground and then had a good, clean pit stop.
“When the second pit window opened, everyone peeled into the pit lane and I was setting quick lap times. I knew the situation, I knew that we were in the second pit window and I knew that I was close enough to the two cars ahead of me that if I laid quick enough lap times while they were in the pits and on cold tires that I could leap-frog them during our pit stop. I cycled through to P1, set the fastest lap of the race and then on the next lap, as I went into the fast right-hander out the back on the crest of the hill, I caught a gust of wind. Before I even turned in, the car snapped and I was backwards in the gravel. I wasn't event really pushing because I knew how dangerous the wind was in the corner.
“Overall, the car ran flawlessly and the crew did a great job. Everyone worked brilliantly. The car is quick and going to get quicker. Whoever gets in this car should be up front. It doesn't matter who is driving; the car is going to be that good and that competitive week in, week out. It's just frustrating not to get the result. The guys deserve a better result than tenth in the gravel. I wish I'd have brought it home where it belonged. We were just really firing on all cylinders this afternoon and I just really couldn't pay them back. That hurts me a little bit.”