CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Patrick Racing Thursday report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia fourth on provisional grid for Cleveland Grand Prix. CLEVELAND, OHIO -- THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia fourth on provisional grid for Cleveland Grand Prix.

CLEVELAND, OHIO -- THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2003 -- Round #9 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified fourth on the provisional grid for Saturday night's Cleveland Grand Prix on the Burke Lakefront Airport runway temporary street circuit in Cleveland, Ohio.

Although the race will be run in the evening under the lights, today's provisional qualifying session was held during the day. In hot and humid conditions Servia turned a quick lap of 59.186 seconds (128.098 mph) in qualifying, which left the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, sitting fourth on the provisional grid.

The 28-year-old native of Spain began the day eighth on the speed charts following the morning practice with a fast lap of 60.380 seconds (125.565 mph) as the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team spent much of the session in the pits waiting for rubber to accumulate and grip on the track to get better. In the second practice, which was a ten minute warm-up prior to qualifying, Servia improved both his time and position. He ran a quick lap of 59.838 seconds (126.702 mph) placing him seventh in the session and on the combined practice report.

In qualifying, Servia moved into third place after the fourth lap on his first set of tires and briefly held the top spot before settling into the third spot after his first stint. On his second set of tires he once again climbed into the No. 3 position only to drop to fourth on the last lap of the session.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team did a good job today in qualifying," Servia began. "Unfortunately, for provisional qualifying it is really pole or nothing. Pole means front row for the race, the rest means nothing. Overall, fourth is nice. It means that we are closer to the top speed than we have been the last three races," he noted. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team had a very good test in Mid-Ohio earlier this weekend and the results showed today. We just need a little more speed. Fortunately, for us it is just a matter of fine tuning the car and getting ready for final qualifying tomorrow evening. I think the times will be quicker tomorrow night because the track will have more grip and it will be cooler. It should be exciting and fun to qualify at night on this circuit," Servia concluded. Servia is competing at Cleveland for the third time in a Champ Car. He qualified 11th and finished 23rd in 2000 and started 12th and placed 17th in 2001.

The resident of Miami, Florida is looking to continue a streak that has seen him start in the top-ten at all eight CART events this season, which is his CART career high. Servia's best starting position this season is fourth at Monterrey and Brands Hatch. His highest career CART qualifying position is third at Texas in 2001, however the race was cancelled. His highest CART career starting position is fourth at Nazareth in 2001, Monterey and Brands Hatch this year.

Servia is looking to build on several other streaks this weekend and has set a number of personal CART career records already this season. He has earned the most top-five finishes in a single season, four, scored a career high five consecutive top-six showings, tied his career high of five straight top-10 placements and set a career mark for consecutive points paying performances at six. All of these streaks remain active. In addition, Servia scored a CART career high second place finish at CART's inaugural night race a month ago at the Milwaukee Mile 250 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Servia has finished in the top-five in four of his last five events and placed in the points in seven of the eight events this year. He is currently sixth in the championship standings with 58 points just five points out of fifth place.

Servia will be making his 62nd career CART start and 19th for Visteon/Patrick Racing this weekend. In 61 career CART starts, with four different teams over three plus seasons, he has earned 28 top-ten finishes including ten top-five showings with two podium performances. However, it has been with Visteon/Patrick Racing that Servia has blossomed as a driver and found a home. In his 18 starts with the team, 10 in 2002 and eight this year, Servia has finished in the points 12 times with nine top-10 finishes including six top-five showings and one podium (Milwaukee).

There will be two other practice sessions this evening giving drivers a chance to test the new lighting system. The first will be from 8:00 - 8:50 PM (ET) the second from 9:40 - 10:30 PM (ET).

Patrick Racing will be making its 31st start at Cleveland. In 30 previous events the team has qualified in the top-10 a total of 15 times with one pole (Roberto Moreno in 2000). They have finished in the top-10 a total of 17 times including nine top five showings with two wins (Emerson Fittipaldi in 1987 and 1989).

The U. S. Bank Presents The Cleveland Grand Prix will be televised tape delayed on CBS on Sunday, July 6 at 3:30 PM (ET). Speed Channel will air qualifying live on Friday, July 5, beginning at 8:00 PM (ET). For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com).

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Roberto Moreno , Oriol Servia , Emerson Fittipaldi