CHAMPCAR/CART: Road America: PKV Racing Friday report

PKV RACING'S LEGGE PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIES EIGHTH, SERVIA 13TH FOR CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF ROAD AMERCIA ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN -- FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2006 -- Round ...

PKV RACING'S LEGGE PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIES EIGHTH, SERVIA 13TH FOR CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF ROAD AMERCIA

ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN -- FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2006 -- Round #12 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing's Katherine Legge provisionally qualified eighth while teammate Oriol Seriva was 13th on the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Legge, who was sporting a new pink paint scheme on the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry to support Ford Motor Company's Warriors in Pink program, which is dedicated to eradicating breast cancer through Ford's commitment to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Series, clocked in with a time of 119.388 seconds (1:59.388) for a speed of 122.063 mph on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America permanent road circuit. While only a provisional qualifying spot today's effort ties Legge's highest final qualifying position achieved earlier this year in Milwaukee. Servia, in the #6 Gulfsteam -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine, provisionally qualified with a quick lap of 121.082 seconds (2:01.082) good for 120.355 mph.

The day began with high winds and showers battering the already challenging Road America circuit. Never-the-less the PKV Racing team took to the track for morning practice to work on their rain setup and scrub rain tires. Legge, who is looking for a strong showing at Road America, as she attempts to get back into the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year Award race and achieve her other goal of finishing in the top-10 in the final standings, was 14th on the speed charts after the morning practice with a time of 146.065 seconds (2:26.065) with a speed of 99.769 mph. During the 15-minute pre-qualifying/afternoon warm-up, Legge ran five laps posting a time of 130.421 seconds (1:30.421) and a speed of 111.737 mph, which put her 12th on both individual and combined practice reports. As qualifying started the track was still extremely wet so, like everyone else, the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team remained on rain tires. They also decided to have Legge run all of her qualifying laps in one stint. Starting with the drop of the green flag, Legge proceeded to turn a total of 14 circuits on the challenging Road America course, a track that is similar to the one's she learned to race on in her native Great Britain. After wallowing in the second half of the grid for the first seven laps, Legge suddenly began to move up the speed charts. She got as high as fourth, but when some teams switched to dry tires for their second stint, she dropped back a few spots and then traffic intervened. Slowing to get a gap, Legge was back on the throttle for her last few laps and ran her fastest time on the 14th and final lap.

"This was a good qualifying session for the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team, but not as good as it could have been," commented Legge. "The team did a fantastic job," she noted. "We struggled in practice this morning, but we were able to sort out our issues and the car was great in qualifying this afternoon. We had a great strategy, staying out the whole time and I only began to struggle the last three or four laps. That was my bad. I leaned on the front tires to much. I should have been more patient and cooled the tires down by driving through the puddles instead of going for it the whole time. Had I done that I really think we would have been in the top-five," Legge explained. "It is also nice to be on a track that is similar to what I grew up with," she concluded.

Legge, a rookie, will be making her 12th career Champ Car start and first at Road America although she did compete there last year in the Atlantic Championships qualifying third and finishing second. The 25-year-old native of Guilford, England has earned four top-10 finishes in her first 11 Champ Car races. She placed a season, and career, high sixth at Milwaukee, eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach eighth in Cleveland and ninth in Denver. Legge has qualified in the top-10 once, the career high eighth in Milwaukee. The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana is third in laps completed (1007) and ninth in laps led with 12. Legge is 14th in the standings with 117 points, 31 points out of 10th, and trails Dan Clarke by 30 points for second in the rookie of the year race.

Servia recorded the eighth fastest time of the morning practice clocking a quick lap of 136.790 seconds (2:16.790) for a speed of 106.534 mph. During the warm-up, he ran seven laps posting a fast lap of 128.780 seconds (2:08.780) for a speed of 113.160 placing him sixth on both the individual and combined reports In qualifying, the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing went with a two stint strategy running rain tires both times. Servia ran seven laps the first stint turning a quick lap of 125.068 seconds on the sixth lap, which placed him eighth on the speed chart at the time. He ran another six laps the second stint turning his fastest lap of the season on the 13th and last lap.

"This was a very difficult qualifying session for the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team," Servia said. "Something is wrong and I am not sure what it is. We had a good car in the wet in Cleveland and Montreal, but this seems like a completely different car. Also, when the track began to dry at the end it killed the second set of ties and that didn't help," he noted. "The Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team will just have to sit down and go over the data. I am confident that we will figure out the problem and get it fixed by tomorrow. Hopefully, it won't be raining," Servia concluded.

With just three races remaining in the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, Servia will be looking to gain some momentum this weekend at Road America as he attempts to climb back in the fight for a top-five position in the season ending standings. The 32-year-old native Pals, Catalunya, Spain, currently sits 12th in the points with 145, but is just 28 points out of fifth.

Servia will be contesting his sixth race at Road America. In five Servia, who will be making his 12th start for PKV Racing this weekend, has been exceptionally consistent in qualifying this year starting in the top-10 in ten of the 11 races with five top-five qualifying spots. His qualifying record to date is two short of the team record for top-10 starting spots in a season, set by Jimmy Vasser and Cristiano da Matta both in 2005, and one short of the team record for top-five starting positions in a season, set by da Matta also last year. Servia holds the team record for consecutive top-five starting spots with four, having qualified a season high fourth in Cleveland, fifth in Edmonton, Toronto and San Jose.

Now in his seventh Champ Car season, Servia will be making his 110th career start this weekend at Road America. He has earned 57 top-ten finishes including 28 top-five showings, 13 podium performances and one victory (Montreal 2005). The resident of Miami, Florida, who has finished in the top-10 in the standings the last three years, is coming off his best Champ Car season placing second last year. In previous races he has qualified in the top-10 three times with a best starting position of fourth, which he earned in 2003. Servia has finished in the top-10 three times with a best showing of sixth in 2004 PKV Racing will be making its fourth and fifth starts and contesting its third race at Road America. In three previous starts the team has qualified in the top-10 once, third by Jimmy Vasser in 2004. They have finished in the top-10 twice with a best showing of fourth by Max Papis in 2003 (Vasser eighth in 2004).

-credit: www.pkvracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Max Papis , Katherine Legge , Cristiano da Matta , Dan Clarke
Teams HART