KV RACING TECHNOLOGY -- TEAM AUSTRALIA'S ORIOL SERVIA FINISHES
FIFTH IN NIKON INDY 300
POWER HAS INCIDENT FINISHES 22ND
SURFERS PARADISE, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA -- SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2008 -- Round #18 2008 IndyCar Series season -- KV Racing Technology -- Team Australia's Oriol Servia finished fifth today in the Nikon Indy 300 on the 2.795-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia. Teammate Will Power, who started from the pole, had an incident while leading the race and finished 22nd.
Servia, KV Racing Technology #5 Honda/Dallara/Firestone, making his ninth appearance in Australia, started 15th. Benefitting from a sound race strategy and strong pit stops, Servia used a solid and fast car to pass several competitors on the track. The fifth place finish ties Servia's best showing in nine races at Surfers Paradise and is his sixth top-five finish in 18 races this year.
I finished the season with another top five, which is great, but it was a race where I think KV Racing Technology -- Team Australia had the dominant car today," said Servia. "KVRT has shown that on road and street courses we have everything it takes to win. It's just tough racing out there and everything has to go our way. Again, we got very close to a great race, and actually, I thinjk we had a good race, going from 15th to fifth. We passed a lot of cars on track, which is not very easy these days, so I am very happy with the race. We have the potential to win races together, but we just need to keep working hard."
Power, KV Racing Technology #8 Aussie Vineyards -- Team Australia Honda/Dallara/Firestone, who was raised in nearby Toowoomba, made his fourth appearance on his home track. He started on the pole for a record third consecutive time and led the first 16 laps of the race building a three second lead on the second place car. However, will working lap 17, Power brushed the wall in Turn #5 eventually coming to rest in the wall in Turn #6.
"Obviously, I am very disappointed. The KV Racing Technology -- Team Australia car was very quick," Power said. "You could see how fast we were at the start of the race. Then I backed off to save a lot of fuel, not pushing hard. Then I clipped the inside wall and ricochet into the next one. It was a really bad mistake, the worst of my life. It's was a very bad day for me and I am very disappointed. But, I want to thank all of KVRT Team Australia for all their hard work this weekend they really gave me a great car and it's a shame we could not finish this race.
Servia, who usually qualifies well here, but has had trouble in the race, did the reverse this time around. The 34-year-old native of Spain made his 143rd career start and 107th on a road/street circuit today. He has now finished in the top-10 three times in nine tries in Australia (fifth in 2005 and ninth in 2000). Servia has 78 career top-10 finishes including 40 top-five showings with 16 podium performances, one victory (Montreal 2005) and one pole (Surfers Paradise 2005). He has earned 61 top-10 finishes including 30 top-five showings with 13 podiums, the win and the pole on road/street courses.
Power, 27, made 48th career start and 37th on a road/street circuit today. Despite his three poles he has now finished 22nd this year, 15th in 2005, 12th in 2006 and 16th in 2007. He has earned 23 of his 25 career top-10 finishes, 13 of his 14 top-five showings, all seven podium performances, all three of his career victories (Las Vegas and Toronto, 2007 and Long Beach, 2008) and all seven of his career poles on road/street circuits.
Servia, in his ninth season, but first IndyCar season, is not considered a rookie because of his extensive oval experience. The native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain, finished ninth in the championship standings, the highest of the drivers transitioning from Champ Cars to IndyCars, with 358 points, just 21 points out of sixth place. He has earned eight top-10 finishes (five on road/street circuits) including six top-five showings (season high fourth at Detroit and fifth's here at Surfers Paradise plus Long Beach, Richmond, Mid-Ohio and Edmonton).
Power, who is in his fourth U. S. based open-wheel season (three in Champ Car - 2005-2007), finished 12th in his inaugural IndyCar Series season with 331 points and in the Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year race (this year's Australia race does not count in the championship standings). He earned six top-10 finishes this season (four on road/street circuits) including three top-five showings (win in Long Beach, fourth in Mid-Ohio and fifth on the oval in Chicago) with one victory. He was the third highest in the standings of the drivers transitioning from Champ Car to the IndyCar Series.