CHAMPCAR/CART: Edmonton: PKV Racing preview

PKV RACING'S SERVIA AND LEGGE LOOKING FOR ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE IN EDMONTON INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JULY 20, 2006 - - PKV Racing drivers Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge will be looking for their second strong performances in as many races at...

PKV RACING'S SERVIA AND LEGGE LOOKING FOR ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE IN EDMONTON

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JULY 20, 2006 - - PKV Racing drivers Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge will be looking for their second strong performances in as many races at the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix this weekend in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Servia, #6 Gulfsteam -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, who is contesting his second Champ Car event on the 1.96-mile, 14 turn JAGflo Speedway temporary airport circuit, started fourth and finished second at last year's inaugural Edmonton Grand Prix. Legge, #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, who is racing a Champ Car for the first time in Edmonton, captured the Atlantic Championship race last year.

Servia, who climbed into the top-10 in the points following a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes, had his streak snapped two weeks ago in Toronto when he was hit by Nelson Phillipe. The 32-year-old Catalan was running in fifth place when on lap 76 of the 86 lap event Phillipe came barreling down the straightaway as the two were heading into Turn #3. Phillipe slammed into the rear of Servia's car sending both cars careening into the tires and bringing an end to their race. Servia has finished in the top-10 in four of the seven races this year including the team's first, and only, podium showing of the season a third place performance in Cleveland (eighth in Monterrey, fifth in Milwaukee, 10th in Portland). He has qualified in the top-10 in six of the seven races this year (fifth in Toronto; season high fourth, Cleveland; seventh twice, Milwaukee and Monterrey, Mexico; and eighth twice, Long Beach and Houston). Servia is currently 11th in the championship race with 95 points.

"I am looking forward to going back to Edmonton," Servia began. "I had a good race there last year, starting fourth and finishing second, so I am looking forward to getting back on the track and continuing the momentum the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team has going. I know we had some bad luck in Toronto, but overall the hard work the team has put in and development we have done to the car is really paying off. We can see the results in our qualifying efforts and in the races," he said. "It is also going to be great going back to Edmonton because of the fans. They were unbelievable last year. So many people came out to support us and the race even in bad weather. I also understand they have made some significant changes to the track, which should make for a more exciting race."

Servia, who is in his seventh Champ Car season, will be making his 106th career Champ Car start this weekend. He has earned 55 top-ten finishes including 27 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, a Champ Car rookie, had the most difficult race of the season in Toronto notching her first DNF. The talented and determined Brit got involved in an incident with Jan Heylan early in the race, but battled back and was running in 13th place when she experienced a mechanical problem that sent her into the wall. Legge finished 14th. Legge has earned three top-10 finishes in her first seven Champ Car races, placing a season, and career, high sixth at Milwaukee, eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach and eighth in Cleveland (she was 13th at Portland 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 seven attempts. In addition to today's 15th place starting position she qualified a road/street course high 14th in Cleveland, 15th twice (Houston and Portland) and 17th twice (Long Beach and Monterrey, Mexico). The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana has earned 79 championship points, which place her 14th in the standings and tied for second in the Champ Car rookie of the year race with Dan Clarke. They trail Will Power by six points, 85-79.

"Last year the Edmonton race was a great event," Legge said. "I was very impressed with the crowds and the atmosphere. I was particularly impressed with the fact that the fans not only came out, but stayed on Friday in the rain," she noted. "This is going to be an exciting event for me. It is a new challenge because even though I won there last year in the Atlantics it is, again, going to be the first time I have run a Champ Car on the Edmonton airport street circuit. I am, obviously, happy I won there last year and I like the track--but, the biggest attraction for me is the West Edmonton Mall, which I think is the largest in North America," Legge concluded.

Legge, who became the first female to start a Champ Car/CART race since Lyn St. James at Michigan in 1995, when she made her Champ Car debut at Long Beach, has established a number of Series records already this season. In Milwaukee, she became the first female to lead a race when she held the top spot for 12 laps in her oval debut. In addition, her sixth place finish at Milwaukee set a new Series high for a female (her eighth place showings in Long Beach and Cleveland give her the two best finishes) surpassing a ninth place finish by Janet Guthrie at the 1978 Indianapolis 500. Legge won three races and finished third last year in her rookie season in the Atlantic Championship Series. Her win in her debut Atlantic event at Long Beach made her the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America.

PKV Racing will be making its third and fourth starts in two races this weekend in Edmonton. The team has qualified in the top-10 twice with a best starting position of fifth by Cristiano da Matta last year. Their best finish is 11th by Jimmy Vasser.

-www.pkvracing.com

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Oriol Servia , Lyn St. James , Katherine Legge , Janet Guthrie , Will Power , Daniel Clarke , Cristiano da Matta , Nelson Philppe