Oriol Servia scores highest finish with Visteon/Patrick Racing at Rockingham 500 Earns second best CART career showing. CORBY, ENGLAND -- SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2002 -- Round ...
Oriol Servia scores highest finish with Visteon/Patrick Racing at Rockingham 500
Earns second best CART career showing.
CORBY, ENGLAND -- SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2002 -- Round #15 of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series - Oriol Servia scored his highest finish in six races with Visteon/Patrick Racing placing fourth today in the Rockingham 500 at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, England.
Servia, who pilots the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry with Toyota power and Bridgestone tires, also recorded the second best (Third - Detroit - 2000), fourth top-five (Detroit - 2000, fifth Vancouver and Germany in 2001) and 15th top-ten finish of his 49-race CART career. The fourth place showing ties the best performance for Visteon/Patrick Racing this season (Townsend Bell - Portland).
During the morning warm-up Servia gave an indication that the Visteon/Patrick Racing car was a better race car than his qualifying effort indicated as he placed tenth on the speed charts with a quick lap of 25.403 seconds (208.579 mph).
Starting 14th, the 28-year-old native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain, was on the move from the opening lap. He passed four cars at the start, but was re-passed on the next lap. Running in 11th position he moved back into tenth shortly thereafter. Following the first round of pit stops, Servia dropped to 13th place because three cars had pitted out of sequence and the team decided to take on a full load of fuel. After the out of sequence cars pitted, Servia was running in 11th place. Attrition accounted for two more spots moving him into the ninth place. Then, an outstanding effort by the Visteon/Patrick Racing crew, on his third stop, combined with solid pit strategy and smart driving accounted for four more positions pushing Servia into fifth place. The resident of Miami, Florida moved into fourth place when the crew had another strong performance on the fourth and final pit stop, however, despite a "very good" car, he did not have the speed to overtake the leaders.
"This was a great race for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team," Servia said. "Going from 14th to fourth on a track that is so difficult to pass...that is fantastic. The Visteon/Patrick Racing car was a great car. I passed four cars at the start. Then I lost one place. At that point I saw I couldn't pass so I started saving fuel. We got to the first pit stop and I lost two places, then I realized that we put in full fuel. I continued to save fuel and we continued to move up. On the last two pit stops the Visteon/Patrick Racing crew did a great job and we picked up three more places. The last stint of the race the car was very good...very good. I am very happy. I thought the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team deserved the podium today (top three), but at least we had a good performance and, hopefully, this is the beginning of a series of top finishes for us," Servia concluded.
Servia has now finished in the top-ten in both his starts at Rockingham. Last year, in the inaugural Rockingham 500 he started 18th and finished tenth. Patrick Racing has finished in the top-ten twice and in the points three times in four starts in England. The team started three cars last year with Jimmy Vasser placing seventh, Townsend Bell, 12th and Roberto Moreno, 13th.
Servia, who began the year running the first three races with Pac West Racing has finished in the points in six of his nine starts this year and in the top-ten four times including today's season best fourth place performance. He is currently 18th in the championship race with 30 points.
Servia, who joined Visteon/Patrick Racing for a five-race trial beginning in Vancouver, recently signed to contest the final five events of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season. He has "knocked on the door" several times during his brief tenure with Visteon/Patrick Racing, however a series of unfortunate incidents have prevented him from finishing among the leaders until today. In his Visteon/Patrick Racing debut in Vancouver Servia was running in ninth place when a mechanical problem knocked him from the race placing him 14th. At Mid-Ohio, he had the fastest lap for much of the race and was looking at a possible top-six finish, however, yellow flags foiled a solid pit strategy and he finished tenth. At Road America, Servia qualified a season high ninth. He was running as high as fifth, with the fourth fastest lap, when a fuel pressure problem robbed him of a top-five showing. He finished in 16th place. In Montreal, Servia was as high as third on the practice reports but had an engine let go in final qualifying. In the race he was running in 12th place when a half shaft broke following his first pit stop dropping him to 16th. Two weeks ago at Denver, Servia was running as high as seventh when he began experiencing a problem with second gear. His race was further hampered by a late yellow flag and he finished 11th.
Next up for Visteon/Patrick Racing is the Grand Prix of the Americas, October 5-7, on the temporary street circuit in Miami, Florida.