CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: PKV Racing Friday report



DENVER, CO -- FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2006 -- Round #10 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing's Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge provisionally qualified sixth and 12th for Sunday's Grand Prix of Denver sponsored by Bridgestone.

Servia, who pilots the #6 Gulfsteam -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine, continued his streak of solid runs on the 1.65-mile, nine-turn Denver temporary street circuit by turning a quick lap of 61.302 (97.308 mph). Legge, who had one of her stronger qualifying performances on a street circuit, clocked a fast time of 61.777 seconds (96.560 mph) in the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry.

In morning practice, Servia recorded the fifth fastest time of the session running a quick lap of 62.171 seconds (95.948 mph). During the pre-qualifying practice/warm-up, he ran the most laps of any driver and posted the fourth fastest time with a lap of 61.765 seconds (96.579 mph), which also placed him fourth on the combined report. In qualifying, the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing crew waited until there were just 14 minutes remaining in the 35-minute qualifying session. Running black (primary) tires for the first stint he turned six laps posting his fast time of the session on lap four. The Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team switch to the red (alternate) tire for the second stint and went out with 6:20 remaining. Servia ran another six lap stint, for a total of 12, but could not improve his time.

"The Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team was not able to match the top-five performance that we have been doing and that we did this morning," Servia said. "At this track, because of the altitude you have less downforce and that affects the tires, so it is a strange combination that is different than anywhere else we race. The Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team just didn't find the right setup for the conditions, so we didn't get the best out of the car," he explained. "However, I am confident that the team knows what needs to be done to make the car better for final qualifying tomorrow," Servia concluded.

Servia, who will be contesting his fifth Champ Car race in Denver and tenth for PKV Racing, is always a contender in the Mile High City. He has qualified in the top-10 three times with a best starting position of second in 2003. However it has been in the races where the 32-year-old Catalan has really shined placing third in 2003, sixth in 2004 and fourth last year.

Servia has finished in the top-10 in six of the nine races this year (six of the last seven events) including three top five showings and the team's only podium performance of the season a third place finish in Cleveland. In addition to the podium in Cleveland, Servia finished fourth in Edmonton, fifth in Milwaukee, eighth in Monterrey and San Jose and 10th in Portland. He has also been remarkably consistent in qualifying having started in the top-10 in eight of the nine races with four top-five qualifying efforts, all in the last four races (he is the first driver in the team's three plus year history to qualify in the top-five in four consecutive races). Servia qualified a season high fourth in Cleveland, fifth in Edmonton, Toronto and San Jose; seventh twice, Milwaukee and Monterrey, Mexico and eighth twice, Long Beach and Houston. He is tied with the injured Cristiano da Matta for seventh in the championship standings with 134 points, however he is listed as eighth because da Matta owns the tiebreaker with a season high second place showing versus Servia's third.

Servia, who is in his seventh season, will be making his 108th career Champ Car start this weekend in Denver. He has earned 57 top-ten finishes including 28 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 14th on the speed charts in morning practice with a time of 63.494 seconds (93.949 mph). During the afternoon warm-up, she ran eight laps, but more importantly ran the fifth fastest time with a lap of 62.096 seconds (96.064 mph). The fast time moved her up to sixth on the combined report. In qualifying, the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team headed out for the first stint ten minutes into the session. Unfortunately, after four laps a red flag came out. Legge went back out on new tires with 20 minutes remaining, but her run was again foiled by a second red flag after just one lap. With five of her 15 laps in the books, Legge had a fast time of 62.239 seconds and was sitting fifth on the grid. The Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team completed their qualifying session by sending Legge back out with 14 minutes remaining. She ran 10 more laps and posted her fast time on the last lap.

"Overall I think it was a positive qualifying session for the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team," Legge said. "For once things seemed to go according to plan. We didn't use the red tires, we saved them for tomorrow, so hopefully it won't rain. I think we can be a few tenths faster and since the grid is so tight right now, the aim is to be inside the top-10 after tomorrow's final qualifying."

Legge, a rookie, will be making her tenth career Champ Car start and first at Denver this weekend (she ran in the Atlantic Championships last year qualifying fifth and finishing 17th). The native of Great Britain has earned three top-10 finishes in her first nine races, placing a season and career high sixth at Milwaukee, eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach and eighth in Cleveland. In addition, she has finished 12th in San Jose, 13th at Portland and Edmonton, and 14th at Houston, Monterrey and Toronto. Legge has qualified in the top-10 once, a career high eighth on the oval in Milwaukee, in eight attempts. She qualified a road/street course best 14th at Cleveland; 15th four times, Houston, Portland, Edmonton, and San Jose, plus 17th twice, Long Beach and Monterrey. The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana is fourth in laps completed (850 of 911) and eighth in laps led with 12. Legge is 14th in the standings with 96 points and is just 30 points out of 10th place. She is third in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year race (trails Will Power by 27 and Dan Clarke by two).

-credit: PKV Racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia , Katherine Legge , Will Power , Daniel Clarke , Cristiano da Matta