CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: PKV Racing Saturday report

PKV RACING'S ORIOL SERVIA QUALIFIES FIFTH FOR MOLSON GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO Legge To Start 15th TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA -- SATURDAY, JULY 8, 2006 -- Round ...

PKV RACING'S ORIOL SERVIA QUALIFIES FIFTH FOR MOLSON GRAND PRIX OF TORONTO
Legge To Start 15th

TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA -- SATURDAY, JULY 8, 2006 -- Round #7 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing's Oriol Servia qualified fifth while teammate Katherine Legge will start 15th in tomorrow's Molson Grand Prix of Toronto on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Servia, who improved his starting position by three places from yesterday's provisional qualifying, piloted the #6 Gulfsteam -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine to a quick lap of 58.920 seconds (1107.230 mph) and will start on the inside of Row #3. Legge also moved up the grid picking up one spot by posting a final qualifying time of 60.276 seconds (104.818 mph) in the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry. She will line-up on the inside of Row #8.

Servia was eighth on the grid following yesterday's provisional qualifying with a fast lap of 59.407 seconds (106.351 mph). However, following Friday's qualifying Servia noted that he felt the car was faster than his provisional qualifying spot. Determined to get the most out of the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing entry the 31-year-old Catalan and his crew worked diligently on the setup throughout Saturday morning's practice. Although he struggled somewhat during practice the changes did slightly improve the car. Servia ran a fast lap of 59.913 seconds (105.453 mph) in the morning session, which placed him seventh on both the individual and combined practice reports. During the 15-minute afternoon pre-qualifying/warm-up the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team continued to work on the setup as Servia once again finished seventh on the speed charts with a fast lap of 59.786 seconds (105.677 mph). Finally, in qualifying, the hard work paid dividends. Servia went out for his first stint with 17 minutes left in the qualifying session. Using the alternate "red" Bridgestone tires he ran a six lap stint turning his fastest time of the session, and of the weekend, on lap four, which placed him fourth on the grid when he pitted. His second stint started with approximately seven minutes left in the session, again on the alternate tire, but like many of the other competitors, he could not produce a quicker lap and ended up falling back one place.

"I think the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team had a decent performance today," Servia began. I wouldn't call it brilliant, but I am happy, not satisfied, but happy with the way qualifying went. We continued to improve on what we developed in Cleveland, so that is good. It is hard to catch the guys in front, but we knew that it would be. We are going to continue to try and challenge them, but today we were the best of the rest," he noted. "I think the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing car is a podium car for sure and that is what we need to do tomorrow--finish on the podium," Servia concluded.

Servia has now qualified in the top-10 four times in six attempts on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place temporary street circuit, all in the last three years. His best starting position is fourth, last year (eighth in 2003, 10th in 2004). He has finished in the top-10 three times, again all in the last three years, with a best showing of second last year (fifth in 2003 and ninth in 2004).

Servia, who is campaigning in his seventh event for PKV Racing has now qualified in the top-10 six times in seven attempts this year. In addition to today's fifth place starting spot he has qualified a season high fourth in Cleveland, seventh twice (Milwaukee and Monterrey, Mexico) and eighth twice (Long Beach and Houston). Servia, who has finished in the top-10 in four of the six races, has been one of hottest drives in the series. He is currently riding a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes including the team's first podium showing of the season a third place performance two weeks ago in Cleveland. The streak started with an eighth place finish in Monterrey, followed by a fifth in Milwaukee, 10th in Portland and the third in Cleveland. After starting the season last in the points following a first lap incident at Long Beach that knocked him out of the race, Servia has steadily climbed in the standings, scoring 73 points in the last four races. His 85 points put him ninth in the championship standings and just 14 points out of fourth place.

Servia, who is in his seventh Champ Car season will be making his 105th career Champ Car start this weekend. He has earned 55 top-ten finishes including 27 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 was 16th on the provisional grid with a time of 61.191 seconds (103.250 mph) following Friday's qualifying. In morning practice the 25-year-old Brit and her Bell Micro -- PKV Racing crew went about the business of improving the car and like their teammates were rewarded. Legge clocked a time of 61.315 seconds (103.042 mph), which moved her up one spot on the speed charts to 15th on both the individual and combined practice reports. The warm-up saw Legge have her best practice of the weekend. Her quick lap of 60.851 seconds (103.827 mph) placed her 13th on the individual practice report, but left her 15th on the combined report based on her morning time. In qualifying, Legge went out for her first stint at the drop of the green flag. Using the alternate tire, she turned her fastest time of the stint, a 60.479, on lap three of the seven lap run. Legge ran eight laps on her second stint, again on the alternate tire, and was one of the few drivers to improve her time. Her fastest time came on lap 11 of her total of 15.

"I think we could have gone a lot quicker today, but I couldn't get a gap in the traffic," Legge said. "I don't feel that I have an issue with qualifying anymore, as far as overdriving and not getting the most out of the car. This time it was the traffic and I am having a problem with the braking and getting the power down. I am struggling with the braking, locking wheels and struggling with the power down," she explained. "I am confident that the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team will come up with some changes tomorrow that will improve the braking and that will be a big help in the race. I think this is going to be one of those races where you just have to take what comes your way," Legge concluded.

Legge, who is in her first Champ Car season, will be making her seventh Champ Car start and first in Toronto (although she raced there last year in the Atlantic Championship Series sixth and finishing sixth). She has now qualified in the top-10 once, a career high eighth on the oval in Milwaukee, in seven attempts. In addition to today's 15th place starting position she qualified a road/street course high 14th in Cleveland, 15th twice (Houston and Portland) and 17th twice (Long Beach and Monterrey, Mexico). The talented and determined Champ Car rookie has earned three top-10 finishes in her first six Champ Car races, but more importantly she has been competitive in every race. Despite the qualifying woes Legge has found some success in the races. She placed a season, and career, high sixth at Milwaukee and eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach to go with the eighth place finish two weeks ago in Cleveland. The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana has earned 72 championship points, which place her 13th in the championship race and second in the Champ Car rookie of the year race. She trails Dan Clarke by three points, 75-72.

Legge, who became the first female to start a Champ Car/CART race since Lyn St. James at Michigan in 1995, when she made her Champ Car debut at Long Beach, has established a number of Series records already this season. In Milwaukee, she became the first female to lead a race when she held the top spot for 12 laps in her oval debut. In addition, her sixth place finish at Milwaukee set a new Series high for a female (her eighth place showings in Long Beach and Cleveland give her the two best finishes) surpassing a ninth place finish by Janet Guthrie at the 1978 Indianapolis 500. Legge won three races and finished third last year in her rookie season in the Atlantic Championship Series. Her win in her debut Atlantic event at Long Beach made her the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America.

PKV Racing will be making its sixth and seventh starts in four racings at Toronto. The team has now qualified in the top-10 three times with Seriva's fifth today topping the previous best starting position of seventh by Jimmy Vasser last year (da Matta started eighth in 2005). They have finished in the top-10 twice with a best showing of second by Vasser in 2004 (he finished fourth last year).

The Molson Grand Prix of Toronto, Round #7 of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, will be held July 9, on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The race will be broadcast live on CBS at 12:30 p.m. (ET).

-pkv-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Oriol Servia , Lyn St. James , Janet Guthrie , Dan Clarke