Servia leads season opener in the streets of St.Pete

Oriol Servia finished 17th in the 2013 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the No. 22 Mecum Auctions Panther DRR Chevrolet.

Servia advanced to Segment Two during qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award yesterday and started today's race in the 12th position.

Oriol Servia, Panther DRR Chevrolet
Oriol Servia, Panther DRR Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Servia got caught up in a multi-car incident in Turn 9 on Lap 27, damaging the front nose and requiring a pit stop for a nose change. On Lap 46, a strategic call to stay out under a full-course caution launched Servia from running 17th after the nose change to the lead. It would be the first laps Servia had led since the 2011 Indianapolis 500.

Servia would maintain the lead for 16 laps, from Lap 46 to 61. Servia led the field to restart on Lap 53, opening up a gap on Helio Castroneves, Will Power, and eventual race winner James Hinchcliffe.

A routine pit stop for fuel and tires on Lap 61 became problematic as the car would not go into a gear leaving the pit box. An issue with the clutch CCU was resolved and the team would go on to take the checkered flag.

Servia completed 104 of 110 laps and currently sits 17th in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series point standings after Round 1 of 19.

The 2013 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg featured 110 laps around the 1.8 mile, 14-turn circuit through the streets of downtown St. Petersburg and a section of the runway of Albert Whitted Airport.

ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 MECUM AUCTIONS PANTHER DRR CHEVROLET: "At least we showed what we've been saying - the team has improved so much over the winter. We showed we had the pace. First we had bad luck, there was a crash in front of us and I broke the front wing.

We were on a different strategy after that, but it gave us the lead. The car was great; I was really happy to be able to maintain and to keep that gap in front of Castroneves, Power, and Hinchcliffe.

I think the race was going to play out in a way that would have had us finish in the top five the way we were running. It was unfortunate - we came into the pits, the clutch wouldn't disengage and we lost several laps fixing the problem. However, I am still very happy with how we ran today."

Panther DRR

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Race reports
Tags chevrolet, indycar, panther, servia, st.pete