CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: PKV Racing race report

PKV RACING'S LEGGE FINISHES NINTH AT GRAND PRIX OF DENVER OIL PRESSURE PROBLEM SCUTTLES SERVIA DENVER, CO. -- SUNDAY, AUGUST 13, 2006 -- Round ...

PKV RACING'S LEGGE FINISHES NINTH AT GRAND PRIX OF DENVER

OIL PRESSURE PROBLEM SCUTTLES SERVIA

DENVER, CO. -- SUNDAY, AUGUST 13, 2006 -- Round #10 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing's Katherine Legge battled her way to a ninth place finish while teammate Oriol Servia fell victim to an oil pressure problem which knocked him from the race today at the Grand Prix of Denver sponsored by Bridgestone in Denver, Colorado.

Legge in the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry, started 15th, but was on the move from the opening lap. Driving a strong, steady and patient race she took advantage of opportunities when they were presented, got outstanding pit work from her Bell Micro -- PKV Racing crew and benefited from the mistakes and attrition of other competitors. Legge moved into the top-10 on lap 19 and never drop out of it. She continued to battle for position until midway through the final stint of the 97 lap contest.

"The race went well for the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team," Legge said. "I was running with Dan (Clarke) and Will (Power) for a long time, but I couldn't stay with them during the last stint," she noted. "Obviously, things could have gone a lot better, but for the first time in a long time we finished all three stints of the race without too many mistakes. And, trust me that was one of the most difficult races I have ever run, because it was so slippery out there. The Bell Micro -- PKV Racing crew did a great job in the pits and we hung in there the whole race. That is what some of these races are about," Legge concluded.

Legge, a rookie, made her tenth career Champ Car start and first at Denver (ran in the Atlantic Championships last year qualifying fifth and finishing 17th). Today's ninth place finish snaps a streak of three consecutive showings outside the top-10 and is the best performance by a PKV Racing driver on the 1.65-mile, nine-turn Denver temporary street circuit. The native of Great Britain has now earned four top-10 finishes in her first 10 Champ Car races. In addition to today's performance Legge's other top-10 finishes include a season and career high sixth in her oval debut at Milwaukee, an eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach and an eighth in Cleveland. She has qualified in the top-10 once, a career high eighth in Milwaukee, in 10 attempts. The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana is third in laps completed (946 of 1008) and ninth in laps led with 12. She currently sits 14th in the championship standings with 109 points and is just 31 points out of 10th place. Legge is third in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year race trailing Will Power by 37 and Dan Clarke by 15.

Servia, who has had some strong performances in Denver in recent years, appeared to be headed for another top-five, and possible podium, finish early in the race. Starting eighth in the #6 Gulfstream -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine he moved into fifth place on the opening lap. Running with the lead group he had settled into a nice pace and was conserving fuel when on lap 12 he radioed in saying the oil pressure alarm was going off. A quick check of the telemetry showed no problem, but one lap later his fuel pressure began to drop. The team immediately called Servia into the pits to look for a possible oil leak, but shortly thereafter it became obvious that there was a major problem. Servia retired from the race on lap 14 in 15th place.

"At this point we don't know exactly what happened to the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing car," Servia said. "We had an oil alarm go off then we started losing oil pressure. It is a shame. We were running really well. The car was very good on Friday. Saturday we went the wrong way a little with the setup, but today in the race the car felt real good. I was getting great mileage and we just wanted to finish and get some points for the championship and Gulfstream, but it didn't turn out that way," he explained. "The good thing is the next three races are all on tracks where I have had most of my success so I am really hopeful that we can move up in the championship standings," Servia concluded.

Servia made his fifth Champ Car start in Denver and tenth for PKV Racing today. The native of Catalunya, Spain has finished in the top-six three times in five races with a best finish of third in 2003 (sixth, 2004; fourth, 2005). He has qualified in the top-10 four times with a best starting position of second in 2003.

Servia has finished in the top-10 in six of the ten races this year 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. In the four races he failed to place in the top-10 Servia has DNF'ed all four times. This is the first time Servia has failed to finish a race due to mechanic problems. He was the innocent victim of on track incidents the other three times.

Servia has qualified in the top-10 nine times in 10 attempts including four consecutive top-five starting spots, a streak which was snapped here in Denver. He is the first driver in PKV Racing'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, eighth three times, Long Beach, Houston and Denver, and 12th in Portland. The resident of Miami, Florida, who is fifth in laps led with 30 and ninth in laps completed (830), is 10th in the championship standings with 140 points, however he is just nine points out of fourth place.

Servia, who is in his seventh season, made his 108th career Champ Car start today. 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.

PKV Racing contested its fourth race in as many years today in Denver and made its sixth and seventh starts. The team has qualified in the top-10 three times with a best starting position of sixth by Jimmy Vasser last year (Cristiano da Matta started ninth). Legge's ninth place finish today surpasses a 12th place showing by Roberto Gonzalez in 2004 for team honors.

PKV RACING NOTES:

PKV Racing welcomed a new sponsor at the Grand Prix of Denver. MELE Associates Inc. has signed a deal to be an associate sponsor on the #6 Gulfstream -- PKV Racing machine piloted by Oriol Servia. MELE Associates Inc. is an aeronautical, military and commercial government management corporation with expertise in telecommunications, manufacturing, oil exploration and engineering.

PKV Racing was the recipient of the Sherwin Williams "All in the Finish" Award for best paint scheme at the Grand Prix of Denver. Oriol Servia's #6 Gulfstream -- PKV Racing car took home the prize, which pays $10,000, this weekend. This is the second time the team has taken home the award. Katherine Legge's #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing entry received the honor at Cleveland.

Next up for PKV Racing is the Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal, Round #11 of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, August 25-27, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Monreal, Quebec, Canada. The race will be broadcast live on NBC at 12:300 p.m. (ET).

-credit: www.pkvracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Oriol Servia , Gilles Villeneuve , Katherine Legge , Roberto Gonzalez , Will Power , Daniel Clarke , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Williams