Sutil: COTA looks like “one of the better new tracks”

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Adrian Sutil says he’s looking forward to racing at the Circuit of the Americas for the first time this weekend as it seems to be a better example of a modern racing track.

Sutil did not feature in the inaugural race at the track last year as he’d been replaced at Force India by Nico Hulkenberg.

“I’ve heard lots of good things about the Circuit of The America,” said Sutil.

“From what I’ve seen it appears to be one of the better new generation tracks, so I’m looking forward to getting there and trying it for myself”.

“It’s a very unusual lap with a big variation of corners. The first sector is interesting with so many turns one after the other and it looks like there are some nice high-speed corners. The feedback I’ve heard is very positive and everyone says it’s smooth and enjoyable to drive.”

Sutil’s only previous F1 race in America was the last grand prix on the Indianapolis road track in 2007, which he finished 14th for Spyker.

Force India head into this weekend’s race enjoying an upswing of form in an otherwise disappointing second half of the season. “It’s good to be scoring points again,” Sutil reflected. “It’s not been easy and we’ve taken some brave decisions with the strategy and that paid us back.”

“But at the same time you always want to improve and there are still some areas with the car balance where we can make some gains. Hopefully we can make some progress so that I feel more comfortable in Austin.”

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.