CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: PKV Racing Friday report

PKV RACING HAS SOLID PROVISIONAL QUALIFING EFFORT AT CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND CLEVELAND, OHIO -- FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2006 -- Round ...

PKV RACING HAS SOLID PROVISIONAL QUALIFING EFFORT AT CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF CLEVELAND

CLEVELAND, OHIO -- FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2006 -- Round #6 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing had a solid day at the track as drivers Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge turned in the seventh and 13th fastest times in provisional qualifying for Sunday's Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio.

Servia, #6 Gulfsteam -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, clocked in with a fast time of 57.782 seconds (1131.210 mph) on the on 2.106-mile, 10-turn Burke Lakefront Airport temporary street circuit. Legge, in one of her stronger qualifying efforts, turned a fast lap of 58.722 seconds (129.110 mph) in the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry,

Much of the first practice, which began at 12:00 p.m., was run in very wet conditions following an evening and morning of showers. While some drivers switched to slick dry tires late in the session, Servia ran only the first part of the practice and those laps were done on rain tires. He finished the practice 17th on the speed charts with a fast time of 68.412 seconds (110.823 mph). In the pre-qualifying practice/warm-up, Servia ran just seven laps posting a fast time of 58.974 seconds (128.558 mph) and after reporting that the car felt good, pulled into the pits to wait for qualifying. He finished the session seventh on both the individual and combined practice reports. During qualifying, Servia spent much of the session in fourth, however, when he went out for his second stint the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team found itself stuck in traffic. As a result, Servia would pick up time through most of the circuit only to hit traffic and be forced to back off on the slower parts of the track.

"The Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team is in better shape after this qualifying session than we have been in the last few races, so that is good," Servia noted. "The car felt good in the rain in the morning and it felt good this afternoon when it was dry. I think we are better than the time sheets show. I think we should be fourth or fifth, but toward the end of the session I got into traffic on every lap. We are still far from where we want to be. Sebastien is the target and he almost a second ahead of us, but we have a good idea of what we need to do to improve the car for tomorrow," he concluded.

Servia, who is contesting his sixth race in Cleveland and sixth for PKV Racing has qualified in the top-10 twice in five previous attempts at Burke Lakefront Airport with a best starting position of fourth in 2003. He has finished in the top-six three times starting with a sixth place showing in 2003, followed by a fourth in 2004 and culminating with a podium finish last year when he finish third and scored the races fastest lap. The 31-year-old Catalun has qualified in the top-10 in four of the five races this season, seventh twice (Milwaukee and Monterrey, Mexico) and eighth twice (Long Beach and Houston). He has finished in the top-10 three times including the last three in a row placing eighth in Monterrey and fifth in Milwaukee to go with the 10th place showing in Portland. After starting the season last in the points after a first lap incident at Long Beach knocked him out of the race, Servia has steadily climbed in the standings and is now tied for 10th with 59 points. He is listed 11th behind Bruno Junqueira who owns a fourth place finish to Servia's fifth in the tie-breaker system.

Now in his seventh Champ Car season, Servia, who will be making his 104th career start this weekend, has earned 54 top-ten finishes including 26 top-five showings, 12 podium performances and one victory (Montreal 2005). The resident of Miami, Florida, who has finished in the top-10 in the standings the last three years, is coming off his best Champ Car season placing second last year.

Legge, who like Servia ran on rain tires during the first practice, but spent more time on the track. She ended the session 10TH on the speed charts with a time of 66.481 seconds (114.042 mph). During the afternoon warm-up, Legge notched a quick lap of 60.575 seconds (125.161 mph), which placed her 14th on the individual and combined reports. In qualifying, Legge, who continues to learn the nuances of Champ Car qualifying and individual tracks, had one of her better sessions, although you won't know by talking to her. She continued to improve throughout the session and turned her fastest time on the last of her 15 qualifying laps.

"I was disappointed with the way I went today because I didn't think I got everything out of the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing car," Legge began. "The car was faster than I drove it. Oriol did a very good job and it shows how fast our cars are. We have a few problems, but I think I suffered a little because of the lack of dry practice this morning. I am still learning the track. It is a difficult track because there are no real sight lines or landmarks on the circuit," she explained. "The Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team worked hard all week preparing the car and I think with some more track time and a few changes to the car we can move up the grid in final practice," Legge concluded.

Legge, who is in her first Champ Car season, will be making her sixth Champ Car start and first in Cleveland (although she raced there twice last year in the Atlantic Championship Series starting fifth and finishing 16th in the first race and starting fourth and finishing fifth in the second).

The 25-year-old Brit has qualified in the top-10 once this season, a career high eighth in Milwaukee and finished in the top-10 twice placing a season, and career, high sixth at Milwaukee and eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach. Legge is currently 13th in the championship standings with 57 points. The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana remains second in the Champ Car rookie points, but now trails Dan Clarke by one point, 58-57 (she came in trailing Will Power by one point, 50-49).

Legge, who became the first female to start a Champ Car/CART race since Lyn St. James at Michigan in 1995, when she made her Champ Car debut at Long Beach, has established a number of Series records already this season. In Milwaukee, she became the first female to lead a race when she held the top spot for 12 laps in her oval debut. In addition, her sixth place finish at Milwaukee set a new Series high for a female (her eighth place showing in Long Beach gives her the two best finishes) surpassing a ninth place finish by Janet Guthrie at the 1978 Indianapolis 500. Legge won three races and finished third last year in her rookie season in the Atlantic Championship Series. Her win in her debut Atlantic event at Long Beach made her the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America.

PKV Racing will be making its sixth and seventh starts in four racings at Cleveland. The team has qualified in the top-10 three times with a best starting position of second by Cristiano da Matta last year. They have finished in the top-10 three times with a best showing of fifth by Jimmy Vasser in 2004.

There will be a practice session tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. followed by final qualifying at 2:00 p.m. The Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by U. S. Bank, Round #6 of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, will be run June 23-25, on the temporary airport circuit at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio. The race will be broadcast live on CBS at 2:30 p.m. (ET).

-pkv-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Oriol Servia , Lyn St. James , Katherine Legge , Janet Guthrie , Will Power , Cristiano da Matta , Dan Clarke