PKV RACING'S ORIOL SERVIA QUALIFIES FIFTH FOR WEST EDMONTON MALL GRAND PRIX Legge Qualifies 15th EDOMONTON, AB, CANADA -- SATURDAY, JULY 22, 2006 -- Round ...
PKV RACING'S ORIOL SERVIA QUALIFIES FIFTH FOR WEST EDMONTON MALL GRAND PRIX
Legge Qualifies 15th
EDOMONTON, AB, CANADA -- SATURDAY, JULY 22, 2006 -- Round #8 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing's Oriol Servia qualified fifth while teammate Katherine Legge will start 15th in tomorrow's West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix presented by The Brick in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Servia, who for the second race in a row improved his starting position by three places from provisional qualifying, drove the #6 Gulfstream -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car to a fast lap of 59.324 seconds (119.729 mph) and will start on the inside of Row #3. This is the third consecutive race that Servia has qualified in the top-five. Legge, who had been in the top-10 in all but the first practice session coming into today's qualifying, could not get a clean lap in final qualifying and ended up with a time of 60.358 seconds (117.678 mph) in the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry. She will line-up on the inside of Row #8.
Servia was eighth on the grid following yesterday's provisional qualifying with a fast lap of 61.321 seconds (115.830 mph). He gained significant speed during the morning practice running a fast lap of 59.870 seconds (118.637 mph), but remained eighth on both the individual and combined practice reports. During the 15-minute afternoon pre-qualifying/warm-up the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team continued to work on the setup, but Servia could only notch a fast lap of 59.916 seconds (118.546 mph). However, in final qualifying, despite having to abandon their original strategy due to a series of red flags, things came together. Servia went out for what was to be the first of two, and possibly three, stints with a little over 23 minutes remaining in the 30 minute session. Unfortunately, his first timed lap, second overall was nullified by the second red flag of the session. Had the lap counted Servia would have jumped into fifth place and surely would have improved from there. Following the clean-up the track went green and Servia was back out with 12:15 left. Three laps into the run, his fourth overall, he posted a fast time of 59.386. Shortly thereafter, the third red flag brought a halt to the action. Servia was back on track with 7:53 remaining. He ran six more laps, for a total of 10, turning his fastest lap on the fourth of the run, the eighth overall.
"I am just very happy that we were able to improve the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing car and put a good lap together at the end," Servia said. "The big thing this weekend has been traffic and red flags. Today, we had red flags all over the place, but I was still able to get in a good lap. We had a couple of laps that were faster, but I couldn't get them finished. The one we did finish was a decent lap and put us in fifth position again and from fifth we can definitely have a good race," he noted. "I am also extremely happy that we were able to continue the momentum we have established in qualifying over the last three races. The championship is really tough and being able to qualify in the top-five three races in a row it means a lot. It is proof that the PKV Racing team is headed in the right direction and getting closer to the front row," Servia concluded.
Servia, who is contesting his second Champ Car race in Edmonton and eighth for PKV Racing, has now qualified in the top-five in both his attempts on the 1.96-mile, 14 turn JAGflo Speedway temporary airport circuit. His best qualifying position is fourth, last year, when he finished second at the inaugural event.
The 32-year-old Catalan has now qualified in the top-10 seven times in eight attempts with three top-five starting positions, all in the last three races. In addition to today's fifth place qualifying spot, Servia has qualified fifth in Toronto; a season high fourth in Cleveland; seventh twice, Milwaukee and Monterrey, Mexico and eighth twice, Long Beach and Houston. 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 is currently 11th in the championship race with 95 points.
Servia, who is in his seventh 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.
Should her top-10 qualifying position hold up in tomorrow's final qualifying it will be Legge's best starting position on a road/street circuit and the second best of the year behind the eighth place qualifying spot she earned on the Milwaukee Mile oval.
Legge was 10th on the provisional grid with a time of 61.417 seconds (115.649 mph). In morning practice she appeared on her way to a sure top-10 qualifying spot when she posted the sixth fastest time of the session, and the weekend, turning a quick lap of 59.824 seconds (118.728 mph). The warm-up saw Legge continue to sit solidly in the top-10 at #7 with a quick lap of 59.786 seconds (118.804 mph) In qualifying, the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team decided to go with a strategy o having her do one long stint because Legge was turning her fastest laps on the seventh or eighth lap of her runs. The strategy appeared to be spot on as the team waited for the end of the session thus missing the first two red flags. Legge went out for her qualifying set with 12:30 remaining in the session, but three laps into the stint the third red flag came out. Legge was back on track with 8:45 remaining and turned her fast lap on the ninth of her total of 12.
"I am really disappointed with qualifying today because we have a fast car and we just didn't get in a good lap," Legge said. "It was one of those times where nothing seemed to go our way. It is frustrating because we are a lot faster than seven or eight cars in front of us," she noted. "This is a tough track to pass on, so it is going to be a challenge for the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team to go through in the race," Legge concluded.
Legge, who is in her first Champ Car season, will be making her seventh Champ Car start and first in Toronto (although she raced there last year in the Atlantic Championship Series sixth and finishing sixth). The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana has earned 72 championship points, which place her 13th in the championship race and second in the Champ Car rookie of the year race. She trails Dan Clarke by three points, 75-72.
Legge, a rookie, will be making her eighth Champ Car start for PKV Racing and first at Edmonton although she did compete here last year in the Atlantic Championships qualifying third and winning the race. The native of Great Britain 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 three times, Houston, Portland and here in Edmonton and 17th twice, Long Beach and Monterrey, Mexico. Legge is coming off the most difficult race of the season two weeks ago in Toronto where she recorded her first DNF of the year. She 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). 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.
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 last year 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 tomorrow in Edmonton. The team has now qualified in the top-10 three times in four tries with Servia's fifth place starting position tying Cristiano da Matta, last year, for team honors. Their best finish is 11th by Jimmy Vasser in the inaugural race.
The West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix, Round #8 of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, July 21-23, on the at JAGflo Speedway a temporary airport circuit in Edmonton, AB, Canada. The race will be broadcast live on CBS at 3:00 p.m. (ET).