CHAMPCAR/CART: Portland: Patrick Racing Friday report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia third on provisional grid for G. I. Joe's 200. PORTLAND, OREGON -- FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia third on provisional grid for G. I. Joe's 200.

PORTLAND, OREGON -- FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2003 -- Round #8 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified third on the provisional grid for Sunday's G. I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway in Portland, Oregon.

Unpredictable weather made for a difficult day at the track, however Servia and the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team seemed unfazed and unaffected. Servia turned a quick lap of 59.519 seconds (119.095 mph) in qualifying, which initially put the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, fourth on the provisional grid. He was bumped to third on the gird when, for the second week in row, a car failed post-qualifying technical inspection.

The talented Spaniard began the day seventh on the speed charts following the first of two morning practices with a fast lap of 60.743 seconds (116.695 mph). In the second session he improved his quick time to 60.677 seconds (116.822 mph) before the skies opened. At that point the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team decided to switch to rain tires and ran a few laps to make sure they were prepared for a wet qualifying session. After just a couple of laps, track conditions were so bad Servia parked the car. He ended up seventh on the individual practice report for the second session, which placed him tenth on the combined practice report. Although practice time was limited the team was confident heading into qualifying because they were competitive and had improved the car during the morning practices

In qualifying, Servia was sitting in fourth place after four of his allotted 15 laps. On his fifth lap he appeared to have jumped to the top of the field. Unfortunately, the time was nullified by a red flag. Servia dropped to tenth while waiting in the pits for the right opportunity to go out on his second set of tires. With the weather again threatening, he returned to action and after getting his tires up to temperature began to move up. Servia turned his fast time on lap 11.

"I am happy with the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team's qualifying session today," Servia said. "You would always like to do a little better when you are fast like we were today, but overall I am pleased," he noted. "The Visteon/Patrick Racing car was very good on the first set of tires. In fact, I thought we could have had a pole time during the first stint, but we got a red flag. On the second set, I don't know what happened, but we started to get a little bit of a push (understeer)," Servia explained. "The good thing is that we have been competitive all day and we learned a few things, which will help us for tomorrow's final qualifying. At Laguna Seca we spent the whole time searching for the setup. Here it is just a matter of fine-tuning the car," he concluded.

Servia, who is competing at PIR for the third time, has finished in the top- 10 in both his previous races. He qualified seventh and finished eighth in 2000 and qualified 14th and placed ninth in 2001.

The resident of Miami, Florida, who is having a career year, has started in the top-ten at all seven CART events this season, which is his CART career high. Servia's best starting position this season is fourth at Monterrey and Brands Hatch. His highest career CART qualifying position is third at Texas in 2001, however the race was cancelled. His highest CART career starting position is fourth at Nazareth in 2001, Monterey and Brands Hatch.

In addition to his qualifying record Servia is on a hot streak that has put him solidly in the top-10 in the championship standings. He has finished in the top-six a CART career high four times, in the top-10 four consecutive times (one short of his career high), placed in the points a CART career tying five straight times and in six of seven events this year. The strong showings have moved him into a tie for sixth in the standings with 48 points. He holds the No. 7 position based on tiebreakers and is just five points out of fifth place and 41 out of first.

Servia will be making his 61st career CART start and 18th for Visteon/Patrick Racing this weekend. In 60 career CART starts, with four different teams over three plus seasons, he has earned 27 top-ten finishes including nine top-five showings with two podium performances. However, it has been with Visteon/Patrick Racing that Servia has really begun to show his tremendous talent. In 17 starts with the team, 10 in 2002 and seven this year, he has finished in the points 11 times with seven top-10 showings including five top-five placements and one podium performance a CART career high second place finish at Milwaukee.

Patrick Racing will be making its 25th start at Portland International Raceway. In 24 previous events the team has qualified in the top-10 a total of 16 times including eight times in the top-five with two poles (Emerson Fittipaldi - 1986 and Scott Pruett - 1997). They have finished in the top-10 a total of 13 times including nine top five showing, eight podium performances and one victory (Fittipaldi - 1989). Patrick Racing's last pole came at Australia in 2001 with Roberto Moreno. The team's last win was at Vancouver in 2001 also with Moreno.

The Grand Prix of Portland/G. I. Joe's 200 June 20-22 will be televised live on CBS on Sunday, June 22 at 3:30 PM (ET). Speed Channel will air qualifying, Saturday, June 21 tape delayed at 5:30 PM (ET).

For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com).

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Roberto Moreno , Oriol Servia , Scott Pruett