CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Patrick Racing Friday report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia qualifies ninth on provisional grid for Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver DENVER, COLORADO - FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia qualifies ninth on provisional grid for Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver

DENVER, COLORADO - FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2003 -- Round #15 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -

Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified ninth on the provisional grid for Sunday's Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver in Denver, Colorado.

Servia piloted the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, to a quick lap of 62.303 seconds (95.167 mph) on the tricky 1.6-mile temporary street circuit.

With rain predicted for much of the upcoming weekend, the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team spent much of this morning's first practice session scrubbing rain tires in addition to working on the car's setup. Toward the end of the session, Servia went out on slick, dry tires and turned a quick lap of 63.367 seconds (93.569 mph) placing him fifth on the individual practice report.

During the second morning practice the team continued to develop the setup, but toward the middle of the session, Servia spun causing a red flag. After serving and eight-minute penalty for causing the delay, Servia was back on track. By the end of the session he had improved his time from the morning session turning a fast lap of 62.534 seconds (94.816). The quick time put him 10th on both the individual and combined practice report.

Provisional qualifying took an unusual form. Because the Denver temporary street circuit is so short CART decided, for the second time this season, to go with single car qualifying. The series used the same format earlier this year at the 1.2-mile Brands Hatch circuit because the shorter tracks do not lend themselves to a fair and competitive qualifying session.

Today's qualifying consisted of three laps with the best of the three determining the provisional grid. The qualifying lineup was based on the reverse order of the combined practice report, so Servia ran his qualifying laps 10th of the 19 drivers.

"I not very happy with the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team's qualifying effort today," Servia said. "The single car qualifying made it difficult and I don't think we got the most out of the car. It is tough to qualify here with only three laps because the track is so short. The tires are cold to start and when you brake going into the corner you don't know if they are up to temperature. That means you are guessing and risking a lot," he explained. "The track is definitely improved from last year. The bumps are not as bad, but it is very slippery and we have a lot less downforce because of the altitude. It makes it difficult to get the maximum out of the car, but it is the same for everybody, so you just have to do your best," Servia noted. "I think the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team can improve the car a lot for tomorrow and hopefully, it won't rain," he concluded.

Servia has been particularly strong in qualifying this season. He has started in the top-10 in a CART career high 14 consecutive races and is the only driver to have qualified in the top-10 in every race this season. The 29-year-old native of Spain has also earned his CART career highest qualifying position starting second last weekend in Montreal.

Servia is coming off a CART career high tying second place finish last weekend in Montreal. The runner-up finish equaled his performance in Milwaukee earlier this year and ended a three-race scoreless streak. The resident of Miami, Florida has finished in the points in ten of the 14 races this year and placed in the top-six in eight of his last 11 events. He is sixth in the championship standings with 76 points. Servia will be making his second start at Denver. At last year's inaugural Denver Grand Prix, he qualified 13th and finished 11th.

Now in his fourth CART season and second with Visteon/Patrick Racing, Servia has established a number of personal CART career records this season. In addition to setting a career record for consecutive top-10 starting positions and earning his CART career best qualifying and finishing positions, he has scored a single season high six top-five finishes. Servia has also set CART career records for consecutive top-six finishes, seven, top-10 showings, seven and points paying performances, eight.

Servia will be making his 68th career CART start and 25th for Visteon/Patrick Racing this weekend. In 67 previous CART starts, he has earned 31 top-ten finishes including 12 top-five showings with three podium performances. In 24 starts with Visteon/Patrick Racing, 10 in 2002 and 14 in 2003, Servia has placed in the points 15 times with 12 top-10 finishes, eight top-five showings and two podium performances.

The Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver will be televised tape delay on Speed Channel on Sunday, August 31, at 9:30 PM (ET). The pre-race show will begin at 9:00 PM (ET). Speed Channel will also air qualifying live on Saturday, August 30, beginning at 3:30 PM (ET).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia