CHAMPCAR/CART: San Jose: PKV Racing race report

PKV RACING'S SERVIA FINISHES EIGHTH, LEGGE 12TH AT CANARY FOUNDATION GRAND PRIX OF SAN JOSE SAN JOSE, CA -- SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2006 -- Round ...

PKV RACING'S SERVIA FINISHES EIGHTH, LEGGE 12TH AT CANARY FOUNDATION GRAND PRIX OF SAN JOSE

SAN JOSE, CA -- SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2006 -- Round #9 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing's Oriol Servia finished eighth while teammate Katherine Legge placed 12th today at the Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose presented by Taylor Woodrow in San Jose, CA.

Servia, in the #6 Gulfsteam -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine, started fifth. He moved into fourth on the second lap of the race, but on lap three was hit by Will Power and the two collected Bruno Junqueira. The incident, which damaged the sidepod of Servia's car, dropped him to 15th. Over the next 34 laps Servia chipped away at the field and was running in 11th by the time he made his first pit stop during a yellow flag on lap 37. During the ensuing restart, Servia got trapped heading into the hairpin turn and lost four places. Sitting in 15th place for the second time he, once again, began to work his way through the field. He was in 10th place on lap 52 when Paul Tracy rammed into Alex Tagliani while attempting to rejoin the race from a runoff area. With the yellow flag waving the pits were opened and the leaders came in for their final stop. At that point the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team decided to gamble with an alternative pit strategy leaving Servia out. He moved into second place and on the restart passed Charles Zwolsman for the lead. Servia led he next 20 laps before pitting for fuel. He rejoined the race in 8th place, but could not move up any further.

"Today was a day the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team should have been on the podium," Servia observed. "We had the car, we had the starting position, but we were taken out early in the race. That put us at the back of the pack, so we had to go with a different strategy to try and make up some positions. It worked out a little. We got the lead and opened up a gap, but it wasn't enough. Then the last yellow just helped everybody get to the end. It was a shame," he explained Servia went on to say, "No one is giving us anything for free. The Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team has to fight for everything we get. As long as we keep working hard things are definitely going to come our way. Everyone is acknowledging that we are more competitive. We just have to get ready for the next race"

Servia, who competed in his second Champ Car race in San Jose and ninth for PKV Racing has now finished in the top-10 in both races on the 1.5-mile, seven turn temporary downtown San Jose street circuit with a best showing of third last year. He has qualified in the top-five both times with a best starting position of second, last year. The 32-year-old Catalan has finished in the top-10 in six of the nine races this year (six of the last seven events) including the team's only, podium showing of the season a third place performance in Cleveland. In addition to the podium, he finished fourth in Edmonton, fifth in Milwaukee, eighth in Monterrey and here in San Jose and 10th in Portland. Servia has qualified in the top-10 eight times in nine attempts with four top-five starting positions, all in the last four races (he is the first driver in the team's three plus year history to qualify in the top-five in four consecutive races). In addition to fifth place qualifying spot in San Jose, Servia has qualified a season high fourth in Cleveland; fifth in Edmonton and Toronto; seventh twice, Milwaukee and Monterrey, Mexico and eighth twice, Long Beach and Houston. He is now tied for seventh in the championship standings with Cristiano da Matta at 134 points. However, Servia is listed as eighth based because da Matta owns the tiebreaker with a season high second place showing (earned today) versus Servia's third.

Servia, who is in his seventh season, made his 107th career Champ Car start today. 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.

Legge started 15th, but moved into 14th place on the second lap. When Servia, Power and Junqueira became entangled she found herself running in 11th. She dripped to 12 on the restart and ran there until lap 19 when she had the first of a couple of incidents with Andrew Ranger. Legge fell to 16th place following the contact with Ranger and ran there until lap 34 when she went into the tires damaging her car. After getting restarted she pitted where the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing crew made repairs and got her back on track in 16th place and seven laps down. Legge showed her grit and determination throughout the remainder of the race and through attrition was able to finish the race in 12th picking valuable points in the championship and Roshfrans Champ Car rookie of the year battle.

"It was a difficult race for the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team," Legge said. "It was full of incidents and unfortunately we got hit at the start of the race, which damaged the car. The crew did a great job get things fixed, but unfortunately it was one of those races where there was a lot of carnage and we suffered a bit."

Legge, a rookie, made her ninth Champ Car start for PKV Racing and first at San Jose although she did compete here last year in the Atlantic Championships qualifying fourth and winning the race. The native of Great Britain has earned three top-10 finishes in her first eight Champ Car races, placing a season, and career, high sixth at Milwaukee, eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach and eighth in Cleveland. In addition to today's 12th place showing, she was 13th at Portland and Edmonton and 14th at Houston, Monterrey and Toronto. Legge has qualified in the top-10 once, a career high eighth on the oval in Milwaukee, in eight attempts. She qualified a road/street course best 14th at Cleveland; 15th four times, Houston, Portland, Edmonton, and here in San Jose, plus 17th twice, Long Beach and Monterrey, Mexico. The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana is 14th in the championship standings with 96 points and third in the in the rookie of the year race (trails Will Power by 27 points and Dan Clarke by two).

PKV Racing made its third and fourth starts in two races this weekend in San Jose. The team has qualified in the top-10 twice and finished in the top-10 twice. Servia's fifth place starting position and eighth place finish take team honors (Vasser started 10th and da Matta finished 10th last year).

Next up for PKV Racing is the Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver Round #10 of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, August 11-13, on the temporary street circuit in Denver, CO. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED at 3:00 p.m. (ET).

-www.pkvracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Katherine Legge , Andrew Ranger , Will Power , Cristiano da Matta , Dan Clarke