CHAMPCAR/CART: Servia fastest in Montreal

CHAMPCAR/CART: Servia fastest in Montreal

Oriol Servia took the provisional pole today for Sunday's Champ Car Molson Indy Montreal with a fast time of 1:21.112 seconds (120.234 mph.) The Patrick Racing driver was fastest all day, setting fast time in each of the two morning practice ...

Oriol Servia took the provisional pole today for Sunday's Champ Car Molson Indy Montreal with a fast time of 1:21.112 seconds (120.234 mph.) The Patrick Racing driver was fastest all day, setting fast time in each of the two morning practice sessions, and topping the time chart for most of today's qualifying period.

Oriol Servia.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Servia did have a couple of scares late in this afternoon's session. First, series points leader, Paul Tracy, cranked off a hot lap that put him atop the timesheets with less than five minutes remaining in the session. Then, Servia and Tracy's championship rival, Bruno Junqueira, had a scary moment at Montreal's tricky hairpin turn. Despite contact between the sides of Servia and Junqueira's cars, they both continued without losing their pace.

On the next lap after that incident, Servia stayed focused and turned in the pole-winning lap as the checkered flag waved. Junqueira, as well, kept the hammer down to turn his best lap of the day, good enough for third in the session.

A disappointed spectator this afternoon was Tracy's Team Forsythe teammate, Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier's car had coasted to a stop on track during the ten-minute pre-qualifying warrnup period, and his crew was unable to repair it for him to get a timed lap.

Qualifying started slowly, as usual, with only Geoff Boss, on his first set of tires, sharing the track with a local groundhog for the first ten minutes. After a five-minute pause, the rest of the drivers decided it was time to put tires on the track. For the next two Champ Car races, Denver and Miami, series officials have announced the use of the same single-car qualifying format that was used earlier this year at Brands Hatch. When the races revert to the traditional "all skate" format in October at Mexico City, waits like this will return.

When things did get rolling, Servia continued with the speed he has shown all day. Junqueira, Michel Jourdain, Jr., Alex Tagliani and Darren Manning were also fast, but none could topple Servia from the first spot.

Max Papis, in the PKR Lola, spun and stalled at turn 4 to bring a red-flag halt to the session at the 23-minute point. This was before many of the drivers got a chance to go for their best lap on warm tires, so their run on the first set of tires was spoiled.

Despite that setback, most of the same drivers were fast on the second set of tires, but Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais and the Reynards of Tiago Monteiro, Jimmy Vasser, and Ryan Hunter-Reay were able to join the fast pack before the session ended.

Tracy made the most notable improvement. One of the drivers that didn't get a good lap on his first set of tires, Tracy had the car ready to go on the second set. He radioed his crew after a hard lap in the warmup to say that the car should be fast for qualifying - and it was! Tracy's first lap once he had his tires warm was the second fastest of the day, and he followed it up with the 121.405 second time that put him ahead of Servia.

Tracy may have had another fast lap in his car to challenge Servia's last lap flyer, but his crew had not put enough fuel in the car for him to run hard for that last lap.

Jourdain added a little more late-session excitement when his car quit on course, but he was able to get clear of the track and avoided causing a red flag, so he got to keep his fast lap, good enough for 9th fastest.

Bourdais held on to the 4th spot, just slower than his Newman/Haas Racing teammate. Local favorite Tagliani was 5th, and the three fastest Reynard-mounted drivers: rookies Manning, Hunter-Reay, and Monteiro followed. Hunter-Reay's Team Johansson teammate Vasser couldn't locate his earlier speed and fell to 11th, behind Mario Dominguez.

The Champ Cars hit the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve tomorrow afternoon at 2:05 pm EDT to seal the pole and see who will start alongside today's fast man, Oriol Servia.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Gilles Villeneuve , Tiago Monteiro , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Sébastien Bourdais , Geoff Boss , Eric Gilbert , Michel Jourdain