CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: PKV Racing preview

PKV RACING TAKES HOPES DOWNUNDER ORIOL SERVIA LOOKING FOR ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE IN LEXMARK INDY 300 IN EFFORT TO FINISH SEASON IN TOP-FIVE KATHERINE LEGGE RETURNS TO COMPETITION FOLLOWING HORRIFIC CRASH INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - OCTOBER 16,...

PKV RACING TAKES HOPES DOWNUNDER

ORIOL SERVIA LOOKING FOR ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE IN LEXMARK INDY 300 IN EFFORT TO FINISH SEASON IN TOP-FIVE

KATHERINE LEGGE RETURNS TO COMPETITION FOLLOWING HORRIFIC CRASH

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - OCTOBER 16, 2006 - - PKV Racing's Oriol Servia will be looking for another strong performance in the Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia as he continues his battle for a top-five finish in the season ending standings while teammate Katherine Legge will be returning to competition following her horrific crash just over three weeks ago at Road America to pursue her goal of a top-10 finish in the points.

Servia, who pilots the #6 Gulfstream -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine, is coming off a solid fourth place showing at Road America which has provided him with some momentum as he heads into the final two events of the 2006 season. The native of Catalunya, Spain who will be making his 13th start for PKV Racing and seventh in Surfers Paradise, is eighth in the standings with 169 points, but is just 15 points out of fourth place. Servia has qualified in the top-10 three times in six attempts at Surfers and finished in the top-10 twice. He is coming off his best performance in six races in Australia having captured his first career pole and finished fifth last year.

"As always, I am looking forward to going to Surfers Paradise," Servia began. "I think all the drivers agree it is one of, if not the, best race in our series," he noted. "The track in Surfers is fun to drive. In particular I like the fast chicanes. But, most of all, it is the atmosphere and excitement that surrounds the race that sets it above other events. The promoters really do a great job."

Servia went on to say, "I am especially looking forward to the Surfers Paradise race this year because I am confident that the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team will be very competitive. I won the pole at Surfers last year and during the second half of the season PKV Racing has shown that we have the speed to be competitive. The whole PKV Racing team has worked very hard and the results are starting to come. We are currently eighth in the championship standings, but with two good performances to finish the season we can still reach our goal of finishing in the top-five in the points."

Servia has finished in the top-10 in seven of the 12 races this year including four top-five showings and the team's only podium performance of the season a third place finish in Cleveland. In addition to the podium, and the fourth place showing at Road America, Servia has finished fourth in Edmonton, fifth in Milwaukee, eighth in Monterrey and San Jose and 10th in Portland. Servia has been exceptionally consistent in qualifying this year. He has qualified in the top-10 in ten of the 12 races with five top-five starting 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.

Servia, who is competing in his seventh Champ Car season, will be making his 111th career start this weekend. He has earned 58 top-ten finishes including 29 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, who was sporting a new pink paint scheme on the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry at Road America 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, was having an impressive race running solidly in sixth when, with just five laps remaining in the 51-lap contest, part of her rear wing broke. The car launched into the retaining wall, up the catch fence and, in flames, began cart-wheeling through the air coming to rest alongside the track. Despite massive damage to the car the talented 26-year-old rookie walked away from the crash with only bruises on her legs. Five days later, Legge tested at Sebring International Raceway running 150 miles with a very competitive time of 51.8 seconds. This weekend's race in Surfers Paradise will be the first time she has raced competitively since the Road America incident.

"I am excited about getting back in the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing car and racing after the long break," Legge said. "I have no hesitation whatsoever about competing again and in fact I am looking forward to the challenge. The Bell Mirco -- PKV Racing team had a good test the Friday after the crash, so we had a chance to work on a few things that I think will help us in Surfers Paradise."

This will be Legge's first race in Australia and the 13th start of her Champ Car career. The native of Guilford, England has earned four top-10 finishes in her first 12 Champ Car races placing a season, and career, high sixth at Milwaukee, eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach eighth in Cleveland and ninth in Denver. She has qualified in the top-10 twice in 12 attempts this year (eighth on the oval in Milwaukee and on the Road America road course). The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana is third in laps completed (1052 of 1126) and ninth in laps led with 12. Legge is 16th in the standings with 122 points, 46 points out of 10th. She is fifth in the Roshrans Rookie of the Year race.

"This will be my first time competing in Australia," Legge noted. "I have heard from the other drivers what a fantastic event it is and that the circuit is very challenging, so I am looking forward to the experience. I was in Surfers about a month ago and had a chance to drive the circuit in a street car, so that gave me an idea of the layout. I am confident that the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team will be as competitive as we were at Road America, where we were in position for a top-six finish, before the crash," she concluded.

PKV Racing will be making its sixth and seventh starts and contesting its fourth race in Surfers Paradise. The team has qualified in the top-10 four times in five previous attempts with a best starting position of fourth by Cristiano da Matta in 2005 (Salo, 10th -- 2003; Vasser, eighth -- 2004 and 2005). They have finished in the top-10 three once with Vasser finishing third last year.

-credit: pkv racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Oriol Servia , Katherine Legge , Cristiano da Matta