Combination of factors makes for frustrating day at Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. MONTERREY, MEXICO -- SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2003 -- Round ...
Combination of factors makes for frustrating day at Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix.
MONTERREY, MEXICO -- SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2003 -- Round #2 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season - A combination of factors turned what should have been a day of celebration into one of frustration for Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia at today's Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix at Fundidora Park in Monterry, Mexico.
Servia, who started a career tying high of fourth, had the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry solidly in the lead group of cars, when on lap 14 the second yellow flag of the race came out. Both the second and third place cars pitted. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team's initial instructions to Servia were to follow the leaders, but Servia could not see what the lead cars were doing. Complicating matters was the fact that race leader, Sebastian Bourdais, did not pit. By the time it became apparent that Bourdais was not going to pit it was too late to change Servia's instructions, and without further orders he stayed out. The race went green three laps later with Servia in second place, but almost immediately it was yellow again. In an effort to rectify the situation Servia was told to pit. When he rejoined the competition he was in 15th place and in an almost impossible position. Fighting to try and salvage anything from the race, and under direct orders to pass other competitors at any cost, Servia began to work he way back through the field. Battling cars that were considerably slower on a circuit that was slippery and where it is notoriously difficult to pass, he damaged his car passing another driver. Fighting to stay in the race he eventually went off track and into the tire wall ending his race on lap 38. Servia finished 18th.
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team had a miscommunication in the pits that began our troubles today," Servia began. "We had decided on a strategy to follow the leaders before the race, but then things changed very quickly. These things happen in the race. I didn't see the leader stay out, but I didn't get any further instructions to change our original plan. So we stayed out," he explained. "We still had a chance, but when the third yellow came out, we had to come in. That is when we lost our race because we had to go to the back of the pack," Servia noted. "This is a track where it is almost impossible to pass cars, but I knew I had to or we were going to get lapped. So I took a chance. Passing one car I touched his front wheel and I got a little bit sideways. After that the car wasn't working well and I just lost it," he said. "This was a very frustrating race, but the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team will continue to work hard. We know we have a fast car it is just a matter of putting all the elements together at one time. I am confident that we can do that at the next race in Long Beach," Servia concluded.
This had been another strong weekend for the talented resident of Miami, Florida coming into the race. In addition to tying his CART career best starting position he scored his second highest career Champ Car qualifying position (third at the 2001 Texas race, which was cancelled), had his best qualifying effort in 12 attempts with Visteon/Patrick Racing and best qualifying effort in three attempts in Monterrey.
Servia, who was making his third start with his third different team in Monterrey, has now finished 14th in 2000 (with Sigma Autosport), 10th last year (with PacWest Racing) and 18th this year (with Visteon/Patrick Racing).
Servia, who is competing 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), was making his 55th career CART start and 12th with the team tomorrow. He has finished in the points in six of his 12 races with Visteon/Patrick Racing (including one of two this year) placing in the top five twice. In 55 career 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.
Next up for Visteon/Patrick Racing is the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 11-13 on the temporary street circuit in Long Beach, California.
For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com