CHAMPCAR/CART: Cleveland: Patrick Racing race report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia ginishes sixth in Cleveland Grand Prix. CLEVELAND, OHIO -- SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia ginishes sixth in Cleveland Grand Prix.

CLEVELAND, OHIO -- SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 -- Round #9 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season --

Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia finished sixth in CART's second ever night race, The Cleveland Grand Prix, on the Burke Lakefront Airport runway temporary street circuit in Cleveland, Ohio.

The start of the race was delayed ten minutes to allow the sun to get lower in the sky and reduce the glare in the drivers' eyes. With the sun setting the green flag dropped and Servia, who started a career high tying fourth, headed into Cleveland's notorious Turn #1. He passed Patrick Carpentier in the first corner, but was in turn passed by Bruno Junquiera for no net gain. Servia remained in fourth until the first round of pit stops, which were precipitated by a yellow on lap 16. Unfortunately, he lost one position to Carpentier during the stop. Now in fifth place, Servia held station through the second round of stops, but on lap 62 he had trouble in Turn #1 and Michel Jourdain ducked underneath for the pass. Still trying to recover, Servia lost one more spot to Mario Dominguez on the same lap. The third round of stops took place on lap 66 with Servia entering pit lane in seventh and emerging from service in eighth because Jimmy Vasser was out of sequence and did not stop. Servia moved back into seventh place on lap 63 when Vasser pitted and remained there until his final stop on lap 94. He rejoined the contest in eighth position, when Vasser again did not stop. However, on lap 103 he got by Vasser when the American pitted and returned to competition on cold tires, then used backmarker Max Papis to overtake Jourdain. Running in sixth place, Servia put relentless pressure on Dominguez passing him with just two laps remaining. However, the young Mexican was immediately able to return the favor dropping Servia back to sixth where he finished.

"Sixth place is a little disappointing because the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team thought we had a shot at the podium today," Servia began. "We had a fast car beginning with the first practice on Thursday and continued to improve every session. I thought I had a very good race car because we were actually faster on old tires then new one's. Unfortunately, it didn't work out the way we wanted," he said. "We had a small problem in the pits that cost us a spot on my first stop. Then I made a couple of mistakes that cost us some positions. Also, the rear brakes were locking so I had a hard time defending and passing back," Servia explained. "We scored some points today, and that is good, but we still need to get to the next level if we are going to challenge for the championship," he concluded.

Servia earned both his best starting and finishing position in three races at Cleveland. He has now finished in the top-six in both CART races held under the lights having scored a career high second place finish at the inaugural night event a month ago in Milwaukee to go with his sixth place showing this evening. Servia also extended several personal CART career marks with tonight's performance. The 28-year-old native of Spain has now finished a career high six consecutive times in the top-six, placed in the top-10 a career high six times and extended his career mark for consecutive points paying performances to seven. He has also qualified in the top-10 in every race this season. The nine consecutive top-10 starting positions are another CART career high for Servia.

The resident of Miami, Florida, who is campaigning with his fourth CART team in three plus seasons, made his 62nd career CART start and 19th for Visteon/Patrick Racing tonight. In 62 career CART events he has earned 29 top-ten finishes including ten top-five showings with two podium performances. Since joining Visteon/Patrick Racing midway through the 2002 season, Servia has really began to show the talent, consistency and competitiveness that many expected after he took the Indy Lights Championship in 1999. In his 19 starts with the team, 10 in 2002 and nine this year, Servia has finished in the points 13 times with ten top-10 finishes including six top-five showings and one podium (Milwaukee).

Patrick Racing made 31st start at Cleveland tomorrow. The team has qualified in the top-10 a total of 16 times with one pole (Roberto Moreno in 2000) in 31 attempts at Cleveland. They have finished in the top-10 a total of 18 times including nine top five showings with two wins (Emerson Fittipaldi in 1987 and 1989).

Next up for Visteon/Patrick Racing is the Molson Indy Toronto, July 11-13, on the temporary street circuit in Toronto, Canada.

-pr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Patrick Carpentier , Oriol Servia , Mario Dominguez , Michel Jourdain