Team USA finally scored their first A1 Grand Prix Championship points on Sunday at the Estoril circuit in Portugal when Scott Speed crossed the line in fourth position in Sunday's main 36-lap feature race.

Coming into the third round of the inaugural A1 Grand Prix Championship, expectations were high Team USA and driver Scott Speed after two disappointing rounds in Britain and Germany. While qualifying a disappointing 15th, changes to the car set-up for race morning and a fast warm-up session set the bar high for Speed.

After moving up two spots during the sprint race combined with aggressive driving by Speed and taking advantage of several miscues by other drivers, Speed moved up through the field to turn its strongest performance of the season as he crossed the line in 13th position.

"Passing was very challenging during the sprint race," said Speed, who spent much of the race bottled up behind the Germany entry. "I was able to move up a few spots but not as many as I would have liked. I had a good battle with the German team as we went back and forth for position"

Speed settled in to 12th position on the opening lap of the feature race but soon moved up to sixth as others took their mandatory pitstop early. Thanks to a flawless pitstop from the Team USA crew, Speed found himself third when the pitstop cycle was completed and while both Ireland's Ralph Firman and the Czech Republic's Tomas Enge passed Speed on the lap 20 restart, Enge would later serve a pit lane penalty for speeding, leaving Speed just one place away from the podium when the chequered flag fell.

"I was confident we could move up in positions, and our pit strategy worked to our advantage," said Speed. "The car ran great during the feature race and while we are disappointed to not make it to the podium, I am pleased with our fourth place finish. This establishes a foundation to build on and I am looking forward to Australia."

"I am very pleased with today's performance by A1 Team USA," added Team USA owner Rick Weidinger. "The team worked hard this morning to improve the car and the excellent pit stop during the Feature Race moved us up several positions. We have had a strong car at every race but the difference today was trouble stayed away from us. We are beginning to have fun now."

 

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