Dartford, England (October 27, 2007) – The Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy officially started today with 3 rounds of practice at Brands Hatch. My goal was to progress every time I went out on the circuit. I knew the Indy circuit at Brands Hatch was going to be tough, but I did not let that stand in my way. Every session was progress, and by the end of the day I was happy where I finished up.
Saturday morning came early with a short warm up. New tires went on the cars this morning which would remain the only set for the whole weekend. With all of this in mind Pat and I only did a few laps to warm the cars up before the first round of qualifying. The key to a fast time was trying to get a clear lap. With a fast lap being in the 44-second range, circuit length at 1.2 miles, and 22 cars gives a very congested qualifying session. In Q1, I had a lot of traffic and my fast lap was done avoiding another car at the apex of a corner. During Q2, I was right on pace with series champion Tim Bridgman. A small handling issue hampered my overall speed, and I ended up 8th when the session ended. Temperatures cooled down for Q3, and I made a small set up change trying to improve the handling. In the end, the change was not what I hoped for and came into the pits to put the set up back to the original position. When I went back out on the circuit, a red flag appeared due to a car in the sand trap. This ended up being the conclusion of the session and the day.
Both Pat and I qualified in the top ten only a few positions apart from each other. I gained a whole second today in my overall lap time which showed that I am coming to grips with the circuit and car. Tomorrowâ€™s races are looking to be under wet conditions and will present a new challenge. Even with that, this has been a great learning experience so far because the situation makes a driver go out and get the job done right away. Since the program got under way, I have to thank all the supporters of the Team USA Scholarship for giving me this opportunity. Driving in this different environment presents a new level to raise my game. The competition this season is very good, and I would have it no other way.