DISAPPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER FOR DORRICOTT DRIVERS
VANCOUVER, B.C., Canada (Sept. 6, 1998) - - A day that started with incredible potential ended in disappointment for Philipp Peter and Oriol Servia at the Molson Indy Vancouver, Sunday, Aug. 6, in round 12 of the 14-race PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship. The start of the 42-lap race and its first eight laps around Vancouver's newly designed 1.802-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit were fast but unremarkable. Servia, who started 11th, passed Chris Simmons for 10th place on lap one, while outside polesitter Peter was unchallenged.
The race's first yellow flag and full course caution didn't occur until lap nine when Rodolfo Lavin spun into a wall and retired due to contact damage. The re-start on lap 14 paid dividends for Servia who used it to posture himself and pass Guy Smith one lap later for ninth place. That move, unfortunately, turned out to be Servia's last shining moment.
The winds of misfortune blew loud and heavy six laps later when the 24 year-old Spaniard from Pals, Catalonia, lost control rounding a corner and spun into an adjacent wall. Servia was forced to retire the No. 32 Catalonia/Elf/RACC/Heritage Bank Lola on lap 21.
"The car handled well for the most part, but it started getting loose after the first 10 laps and worsened by the middle of the race," said Servia. "I probably would have finished the race if I would have slowed down. I was trying to catch up to Didier Andre and I was gaining ground when the car ran smoothly. I guess I tried too hard to find a balance between catching up with a loose car and not loosing control in the tighter corners. I lost control and spun against the wall. The suspension was damaged too much for me to continue the race. I almost lost it a few laps earlier in turn 14 when the rear slid out. But hey, it's my first year and I'm learning a lot of things the hard way so I hopefully won't make the same mistakes next season."
Peter remained unchallenged for second place in the No. 31 Sebring/Red Bull/ESTEBE Lola for the first 28 laps when disaster struck.
Peter was making a routine entry into turn four of the 14-turn temporary street circuit when his car suddenly went into a controllable spin. Although he avoided contact with the wall, he lost crucial time and seven positions.
"I had a problem with the steering," disclosed Peter. "It became really tough to turn the steering wheel. The steering became heavier with each lap. It made it really hard to control the car through the slow corners. I also had a problem with the throttle. It failed to release a couple of times. While I was braking, the throttle would still be accelerating. This caused a lot of problems particularly in the slow corners where you really have to slow the car down. My car kept wanting to accelerate. It was taking a lot to control these problems and competitively drive the car.
"The throttle and steering had a lot to do with my spin in turn four. When I wanted to turn in, I was forced to brake more. Harder braking transferred too much weight to the front of the car so the rear overtook me and I spun around."
Peter's ninth place showing was worth four championship points but kept him in seventh place overall with 61 points. Servia dropped to eighth place in the Indy Lights championship with 57 points.
Guy Smith maintained his lead for Indy Lights Rookie-of-the-Year with 107 points following an eighth place race finish. Derek Higgins is in second place with 74 points followed by Peter and Servia.
Dorricott Racing is a year-round professional motorsports organization based at Sears Point International Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Race results, team and sponsor information may be viewed on Dorricott Racing's website, http://www.dorricottracing.com.
Round 13 of the 14-race PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, featuring the Texaco/Havoline 300, from Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13.