Rising young American star Phil Giebler impressed in qualifying for the first round of the new A1GP season at Zandvoort this weekend, putting the 'We The People' car on row three of the grid for the 20-minute sprint race.

The 27-year-old Californian competed in a handful of races for Team USA last year, but sixth represents his highest starting position in the series, and against a field that has considerably upped its game since 2005-06.

"I think it's a solid starting position for the first race," Giebler said. "It's nice to know we have the times to get up there, and it puts us in the window for a good result in the sprint race."

Giebler - whose lap was just under 0.8s shy of pole position - initially qualified seventh but was moved up a place by the demotion of the Swiss squad for a technical infringement. His best lap came in session two of the four, when the American set an incredible 1min 27.884secs to stun the A1GP fraternity.

"We cut a lot of pieces out of the seat and I got comfortable in the car," Giebler added. "On Friday I couldn't turn the steering wheel, but today the team gave me a race car that felt like a race car and I was able to drive it the way I wanted.

"The team is the best in the business and they gave me what I told them the car needed. We put on new tyres at the end and had that fast lap. The progress this team has made from Friday has been amazing."

Team USA owner Rick Weidinger professed himself pleased with Giebler's performance, and confident of an even stronger showing on race day and throughout the campaign.

"I'm fine with sixth because Phil's a good racer and there's no doubt he'll move up," Weidinger said. "It puts us on the dance floor and we'll be ready to rock n' roll on Sunday.

"It's the first time the team, driver and engineer Greg Wheeler have worked together. It's something we can build upon and it shows that we can be very strong this season."

 

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