'We The People' made a promising step forward during A1GP's sophomore campaign in 2006-07, almost doubling its points total as it leapt up seven places in the final nations' standings from 16th to ninth.

Erstwhile F3 Euroseries ace Jonathan Summerton - who recently celebrated his 19th birthday - enjoyed a strong finish to the season by bouncing back from a high-speed qualifying smash at Brands Hatch last month to record two top ten finishes come the races, including a competitive sixth position in the longer feature encounter.

"It was a hard race," the Floridian acknowledged. "There were cars going off everywhere. I want to thank my crew for giving me such a great stop. I bumped wheels with the Canadian car as we were coming out of the pits, but I ended up in front and that's what counts.

"The steering was pretty heavy, but I fought hard. We had a couple of good battles during the sprint race too. I got tapped from behind at the start, but I managed to stay out of trouble otherwise."

Summerton began the campaign competing only in the rookie practice sessions, but was promoted to full race status for the final four events. He repaid team owner Rick Weidinger's faith in him by registering five top ten finishes from eight races - including a runner-up spot in the Mexico City feature - and 18 points, almost half the squad's total for the year.

"I've really enjoyed driving for my country in the 'We The People' car," Summerton enthused. "I was really happy to run for A1 Team USA and represent the United States; it was a real privilege. We proved we can be fast and run at the front in an international series.

"The team was really good and (engineer) Greg Wheeler and I worked together really well. I'm happy with how we performed. I made a few mistakes, but every race we were running in the top five and I hope to be back again next season."

Phil Giebler participated in the early races of the campaign, also registering a second-place feature race finish in the curtain-raiser at Zandvoort back in September. Together with Summerton and former Champ Car star Ryan Hunter-Reay, he helped the US entry to notch up a total of 15 top-ten showings and 11 points-scoring results out of a possible 22.

"It was an honour to drive for A1 Team USA again," stated Californian Giebler, who initially raced for the squad during the inaugural campaign in 2005-06. "It's a great feeling to represent the United States of America. At all the A1GP events you get a good feeling of patriotism from the crowds. Some people travelled around and others lived in the countries where we raced, but all of them came to cheer for their teams.

"We had a great group of people this year with Greg Wheeler and West Surrey Racing operating the team. It was a good match. In almost every race we were fighting for podiums and on the pace. I only wish we had the results to back up the pace we had - we were robbed a couple of times - but all-in-all I'm really happy with our performance.

"Besides Germany and New Zealand, we could fight with anybody. The competitive bar in the series was definitely raised this season, and it's a series that is just going to get better."

Weidinger was similarly encouraged by his outfit's notable improvement in its second season, and hopeful of even further progress come the start of the championship's third campaign in September.

"We fought back from the adversity we had in qualifying at Brands Hatch to move up in both the sprint and feature races and score points," he said. "It showed the skill and determination of our team and our driver. We've started calling Jonathan the 'Comeback Kid' - he just never gives up!

"I'm very pleased with our improvement to ninth place overall and the more competitive performances we had. There is strong patriotic appeal to supporting a team that races for the USA in an international series that limits one entry from each nation.

"I continue to believe that the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport is the best product in motorsport. From an owner's perspective, A1GP delivers a level playing field with fixed operating budgets where more money can't buy you more speed. It is the relationship between driver and engineer that delivers more speed. Additionally, one team represents its country and the series has attracted young and aggressive drivers from that country. It's an excellent mix of excitement, business model and patriotism.

"I feel the team is now well-positioned for next year with drivers, engineers and mechanics. The entire team has really come together and we are all looking forward to next season's opening race. All the pieces are in place for us to make a run at the championship now and bring the A1GP World Cup trophy home to the United States."

 

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