Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia second on provisional grid for Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. MONTERREY, MEXICO -- FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2003 -- Round ...
Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia second on provisional grid for Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix.
MONTERREY, MEXICO -- FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2003 -- Round #2 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia continued to show his quickness qualifying second today on the provisional gird for Sunday's Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix at Fundidora Park in Monterry, Mexico.
Servia, behind the wheel of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, has consistently been among the fastest cars on the track since pre-season testing. Today was no exception as the talented Spaniard drove his Ford/Cosworth powered Lola to within .15 seconds of the pole. His quick time of 77.373 seconds (97.895 mph) came on the last of his 15 qualifying laps.
The resident of Miami, Florida began the day breaking in a set of rain tires during the first of two morning practice sessions. In that first practice he had a fast lap of 86.143 seconds (87.926 mph) putting him 13th on the individual practice report. Switching to slick Bridgestone racing tires for the second session Servia started to move up on the speed charts turning a quick lap of 79.912 seconds (94.784 mph) placing him ninth in the session and ninth on the combined practice report.
In qualifying, Servia was running inside the top-10 ten throughout the session and, in fact, was sitting in tenth place as traffic problems clearly slowed him down. Finally, on his last lap, as the clocking was ticking off the final minute of the session, he put everything together and clicked off the fast time.
"I am very pleased with the performance of the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team today, but not getting that last .15 of a second is painful because it would have meant a point and guaranteed starting on the front row," Servia said. "It was really tough to put a lap together today. I only had that one chance because on every other lap I had problems with traffic, or the car in front of me was slowing to get a clear lap. It was tough, but it was good that we got that one fast lap," he noted.
Commenting on tomorrow's final qualifying, Servia said, "It was key to put up a good time today. There is only a 30 or 40% chance of rain tomorrow, but I am sure that if I were at the back of the grid it would rain. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team showed it has the speed today and there is no reason why we shouldn't be fast again tomorrow. There is room for some improvement in the car and I am sure that Steve (Visteon/Patrick Racing Director of Engineering Steve Challis) will come up with something to make the Visteon/Patrick Racing car better."
Servia is competing in Monterrey for the third time with his third different team. In two previous races his highest starting position is eighth in 2000 (with PPI Motorsports) and his best finish is 10th last year (with PacWest Racing).
Now in his fourth Champ Car season and second with Visteon/Patrick Racing (he ran three races for PWR and the final ten with Visteon/Patrick Racing in 2000) Servia is making his 55th career CART start and 12th with the team. He has finished in the points in six of his 11 races with Visteon/Patrick Racing placing in the top five twice. In 54 previous Champ Car starts Servia has earned 23 top-ten finishes including six top-five showings (Third, Detroit - 2000; Fourth, Rockingham - 2002; Fifth, St. Louis -2000, Vancouver and Germany - 2001 and Fontana - 2002) and one podium, a career best finish of third in the 2000 Detroit Grand Prix.
Servia's best qualifying effort last year was ninth at Elkhart Lake and Australia. His highest Champ Car career qualifying position is third at Texas in 2001, however the race was cancelled. His highest starting position is fourth at Nazareth in 2001. Visteon/Patrick Racing's best starting position in 2002 was fifth at Long Beach. Now in its 31st year of open wheel competition, Patrick Racing has a total of 31 poles in 769 starts. Roberto Moreno captured the team's last pole at the 2001 Australia race.
The Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix will be televised live on Speed Channel. Saturday, March 22, qualifying will be aired live from 2:30 - 4:00 PM (ET). The pre-race show will begin at 2:00 PM (ET) on Sunday, March 23, with the race shown live from 2:30 - 5:00 PM (ET).