CHAMPCAR/CART: Edmonton: PKV Racing preview

PKV RACING LOOKING TO CONTINUE RISE IN STANDINGS THIS WEEKEND AT REXALL GRAND PRIX OF EDMONTON PKV Racing driver Neel Jani will be looking to continue his rise in the championship standings while teammate Tristan Gommendy will attempt to get...

PKV RACING LOOKING TO CONTINUE RISE IN STANDINGS THIS WEEKEND AT REXALL GRAND PRIX OF EDMONTON

PKV Racing driver Neel Jani will be looking to continue his rise in the championship standings while teammate Tristan Gommendy will attempt to get back into the top-10 in the points this weekend at the Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, July 20-22, on the temporary airport circuit at City Centre Airport, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

This weekend's race is the third consecutive race in Canada and the finale of the Canadian Triple Crown. It also marks the halfway point of both the 2007 Champ Car World Series season and is the fourth of a grueling five races in a six week segment that has begun to define and separate the contenders from the rest of the field in the championship race.

Jani has really come on the last three races. Prior to Cleveland, Jani, who drives the #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone machine, was 12th in the standings and 10 points out of 10th place. After finishing in the top-six the last three events including two podium performances, he is currently seventh in the championship standings and third in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year race, with 116 points, and just 11 points out of fifth place. The 23-year-old native of Jens, Switzerland has finished in the top-10 five times in the first seven races of this season with the two podiums, a season high second in Toronto and third in Cleveland. The two podium performances sandwich a sixth place showing in Mont-Tremblant. He has also placed seventh at Long Beach, where fueling problems, and 10th in Las Vegas, mechanical failure, prevented top-five finishes. Jani was also looking at a top-five showing in Houston, but was knocked from the competition while running fourth and eventually finished 15th. Only in Portland, where he finished 12th, but was running as high as eighth, has Jani not been in contention. Jani, whose father hails from India, has qualified in the top-10 five times in seven tries. He started a season high fourth in Houston, sixth in Mont-Tremblant, ninth in Las Vegas and Toronto and 10th in Portland (11th in Cleveland and Long Beach). Jani, who has been a member of the Red Bull driver development program since 2005 and was a test driver for the Scuderia Toro Rosso in Formula One Team in 2006 is sixth in both laps completed (527 out of a possible 566) and miles completed (1081.284 out of a possible 1156.286).

"The Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing team has had some good results in the last three races, which have moved us up in the standings," Jani said. "We have definitely improved the car, especially on the street circuits, and I think our results show it. We are not where we want to be or expect to be. We have some podium finishes, but have not won yet. Edmonton will be the half way point in the season, so we cannot relax. We have to keep working hard, keep improving and keep putting up good results," he said. "I am looking forward to racing in Edmonton. It is another airport street circuit like Cleveland where we finished on the podium. Hopefully, we can improve on that result this weekend."

Gommendy, who, like his teammate is a Champ Car rookie, but a veteran of European open wheel racing, but, unlike his teammate has struggled a bit in the last few weeks. Other than one bright spot, a pole at Mont-Tremblant, which was nullified when the #22 Pay By Touch MegaSpirea PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone car experienced an electrical problem and failed to start, Gommendy has DNF'd in the other two events dropping him from ninth in the championship race, 13 points out of fifth, to 13th in the standings 11 points out of tenth. Gommendy has finished in the top-10 twice in the first seven races this year with a best showing of fifth in his Champ Car debut in Las Vegas. His other finishes, a seventh in Portland, 12th in Mont-Tremblant after an electrical problem nullified his starting position, 11th at Long Beach, 13th at Houston and Cleveland and a season low 15th at Toronto. At both Long Beach and Houston, Gommendy engaged in spirited battles for the lead with three-time Series Champion Sebastien Bourdais before making late race stops for fuel. The personable and talented 27-year-old resident of Paris, has qualified in the top-10 four times in seven attempts this year with the one pole, just the second pole in PKV Racing history and first on a road course (made him just the third Champ Car rookie to capture a pole since 2001). In addition, Gommendy has qualified fifth in Portland, eighth in Houston and ninth in Long Beach (11th in Las Vegas, 12th at Cleveland and 14th in Toronto). Gommendy, who won the 2002 Formula 3 France championship and the prestigious Formula 3 Macau GP race also in 2002, is sixth in laps led (31), 11th in laps completed (427) and miles completed (891.671) and ninth.

Commenting on the last three events, Gommendy said, "The last three races have been disappointing for the Pay By Touch MegaSpirea team. Except for Mont-Tremblant, where we won the pole, we have not qualified where we should and in the races we have had some unfortunate incidents. Every team goes through a period like this during the season. We just have to keep working hard and things will go our way. We need to focus on one race at a time beginning this weekend in Edmonton."

PKV Racing will be making its eighth and ninth starts while contesting its fifth race in Toronto this weekend. The team has qualified in the top-10 three times in seven attempts with a best starting position of fifth by Oriol Servia last year. They have finished in the top-10 twice in their previous seven starts with a best showing of second by Jimmy Vasser in 2004 (Vasser was fourth in 2005).

PKV Racing made its fifth and sixth starts while contesting its third race in Edmonton. The team has qualified in the top-10 three times in four previous attempts with a best starting position of fifth by Cristiano da Matta at the inaugural event in 2005 and Oriol Servia last year. They have one top-10 finish a fourth place showing last year by Servia.

The Rexall Grand Prix of Edmonton, Round #8 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, will be held July 20-22, on the temporary circuit at City Centre Airport in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The race will be televised live on ESPN at 4:00 p.m. (ET).

-credit: pkv

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia , Sébastien Bourdais , Neel Jani , Tristan Gommendy , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Toro Rosso