Gamble fails to pay off for Grosjean in qualifying

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Romain Grosjean has said that his early elimination during qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix was nothing more than a gamble that went wrong, with the result bringing to an end a string of excellent performances by the Frenchman.

Lotus opted to send Grosjean out on the medium compound in Q1 in order to try and save a set of option tires for the final session on Saturday. However, this move backfired spectacularly as he dropped from fifth to seventeenth and was eliminated alongside Pastor Maldonado, both Caterhams and both Marussias.

“We took a gamble once again to try just one run on the prime tires in Q1, and although it’s been a successful tactic for us recently it didn’t pay off this time,” Grosjean explained after qualifying. “The times were much tighter than expected and ultimately we made a miscalculation with the cut-off time.”

Like many, Grosjean’s hopes in the race hinge on his strategy, but the Frenchman conceded that from seventeenth on the grid it will take a titanic effort to come away from India with a sizeable haul of points.

“We’ll have to pull off something quite special with the strategy to take anything from there, but of course we’ll analyze the options overnight to see what’s possible,” he explained. “For sure, we won’t be leading after the first corner this time, but we’ll do our best.”

This is the second time in 2013 that Grosjean has failed to make it through to Q2, also missing out thanks to changeable conditions during qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix back in June.

MRTI: pre-season testing Day 3 notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Day 3 of pre-season testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway saw the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda continue testing for the second day in a row, with each series completing three sessions on what was their final day of running.

Quick reports on both series are below.

Pro Mazda: Cunha Surges to the Front

While Saturday saw Pro Mazda newcomers like Oliver Askew, Parker Thompson, and Rinus VeeKey lead the way, Sunday saw a pair of second-year Pro Mazda drivers take their turns at the top of the speed charts. In the combined results, Juncos Racing’s Carlos Cunha turned the fastest lap of the final session, also good enough to be the outright fastest lap of the weekend, taking advantage of a fresh set of Cooper Tires to do so.

“I’m really happy, Juncos Racing is an amazing team,” Cunha said of the team’s performance. “On track, we are always improving, never going backwards and that’s very good. We have tested a lot but we still need to learn a lot about the car, though we are almost to a perfect setup. The team has given me everything I need to be comfortable inside the car, to know what the car needs, and to know what I need to be a better driver. We have time to improve and we are moving forward quickly.”

Fellow sophomore driver Sting Ray Robb, now with Team Pelfrey, was right behind Cunha in second.

Combined results across both Saturday and Sunday can be found here.

USF2000: Kirkwood, Cape Motorsports Stay On Top of Deep USF2000 Field

New Cape Motorsports driver Kyle Kirkwood, who topped Session 2 on Saturday, stayed on top of the combined speed charts across the weekend on the strength of his best lap from Session 3 of the weekend on Saturday.

Pabst Racing’s Rasmus Lindh was right behind Kirkwood, on the strength of his quick lap from Session 1.

However, Sunday’s running saw a different driver assert his authority, with Kaylen Frederick, Lindh’s teammate at Pabst, turning the fastest lap during the final session.

Frederick ended up fourth in the combined results, which can be viewed here.

The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires will take to the Homestead-Miami road course on Monday for the final day of testing for the Mazda Road to Indy.