Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia qualifies eighth for tomorrow's Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. LEXINGTON, OHIO - SATURDAY, AUGUST 9, 2003 -- Round ...
Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia qualifies eighth for tomorrow's Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.
LEXINGTON, OHIO - SATURDAY, AUGUST 9, 2003 -- Round #13 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia qualified eighth for tomorrow's Champ Car Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Servia notched a fast lap of 67.529 seconds (120.375 mph). His time was the seventh quickest of the day, but when combined with yesterday's provisional qualifying times placed him eighth overall. Servia, who pilots the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, will start on the outside of Row #4.
Today's qualifying effort extends Servia's streak of top-10 starting positions to 13, which is his CART career high. He is the only driver to have started in the top-10 in every race this season. It is also his best starting position in four attempts on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio permanent road circuit.
The 29-year-old Spaniard began the day seventh on the grid following yesterday's provisional qualifying with a quick time of 67.801 seconds (119.892 mph). In the 75-minute morning practice he ran a time of 68.385 seconds (118.868 mph), putting him 13th on both the individual practice report and the combined report after four sessions. Servia ran the third fastest time of the ten-minute warm-up prior to qualifying turning a lap of 69.619 seconds (116.761), but more importantly the overall slow times gave the team an indication that track conditions were no were near ideal. Therefore, it was decided to wait as long as possible before attempting to qualify.
"There is no sense in burning up tires if the track is slow," said Visteon/Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee. "That's the way it is here at Mid-Ohio. The track will be two seconds slower between the start and the end of a session," McGee explained.
The strategy worked as Servia ran his fastest time of the weekend during his second stint with just minutes remaining in the session.
"Overall, I am happy because the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team improved the setup of the car and we gained some ground in terms of speed," Servia said. "However, we didn't find all the speed we needed and I am disappointed with our starting position. Starting eighth is not a bad position, but I certainly would like to be closer to the front. Mid-Ohio is one of those circuits where qualifying is very important because it is so difficult to pass, but it is a long race and a lot of things can happen," he noted. The Visteon/Patrick Racing crew has been very strong with our pit stops and we always have a good race car and strategy. I am sure we will be up to the challenge tomorrow," Servia concluded.
Servia has enjoyed some solid results in three previous races at Mid-Ohio. He qualified 17th and finished 10th in '00, started 26th and placed ninth in '01 and started 12th and finished 10th in '02 (his second start for Visteon/Patrick Racing).
The resident of Miami, Florida has scored points in nine of the 12 races this year and has finished in the top-six in seven of his last nine events. He has earned a single season high five top-five finishes including a CART career best second place showing (Milwaukee). Additionally, Servia has set personal CART career records for consecutive top-six finishes, seven, top- 10 showings, seven and points paying performances, eight. He is currently sixth in the championship standings with 76 points.
Servia will be making his 66th career CART start and 23rd for Visteon/Patrick Racing tomorrow. In 65 CART career events he has earned 30 top-ten finishes including 11 top-five showings with two podium performances. In his 22 starts with Visteon/Patrick Racing, 10 in 2002 and 12 this year, Servia has finished in the points 14 times with 11 top-10 finishes including seven top-five showings and one podium (Milwaukee).
Patrick Racing will be making its 27th start at Mid-Ohio tomorrow. The team has now qualified in the top-10 a total of 14 times with a best starting position of third (Fittipaldi - '86). They have 17 top-10 finishes, nine top-five showings and two wins (Fittipaldi - '88; Adrian Fernandez in -98). In 1998 the team placed one/two with Scott Pruett, in the Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, finishing second.
The Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio will be televised live on Speed Channel on Sunday, August 10, at 2:00 PM (ET). The pre-race show will begin at 1:30 PM (ET).