CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston: PKV Racing preview

PKV Racing's Katherine Legge And Oriol Servia To Contest Champ Car Grand Prix Of Houston Vasser'S Consecutive Start Streak To End At 211 Servia To Make 100th Career Champ Car Start INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - MAY 11, 2006 - - PKV Racing's...

PKV Racing's Katherine Legge And Oriol Servia To Contest Champ Car Grand Prix Of Houston

Vasser'S Consecutive Start Streak To End At 211
Servia To Make 100th Career Champ Car Start

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - MAY 11, 2006 - - PKV Racing's Katherine Legge and Oriol Servia will contest the inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Houston, May 11-13, on the MSR Houston temporary street course on the streets of Houston, Texas.

Legge, who will be making her second career Champ Car start, will pilot the #20 Bell Mirco -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine, while Servia, who will reach a milestone by making his 100th career Series start, will be behind the wheel of the #6 Gulfstream -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry. PKV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser will not contest the race bringing to an end his consecutive start streak at 211, which is a Series record.

Legge, who finished eighth in her Champ Car debut at the Long Beach Grand Prix, will be making her first start in Houston and first in a night race. She is currently eighth in the championship standings with 15 points.

"I am looking forward to Houston because racing at night will be another new challenge for me," Legge said. "I am also looking forward to racing at a new venue as well, because it will be more of a level playing field. The Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team had a decent result in Long Beach in my first race, but my aim is to keep improving. I know I have a lot of work to do, but the whole PKV Racing team has been very supportive and I am looking forward to continuing along the learning curve."

Legge, who made the first start by a female in a Champ Car/CART race since Lyn St. James at Michigan in 1995, at Long Beach on April 9, established a record for highest finish by a female in Series history surpassing a ninth place showing by Janet Guthrie at the 1969 Indianapolis 500.

The 25-year-old native of Great Britain, who is considered a rising star in the Champ Car World Series, burst on the open-wheel racing scene last year when she captured three races in route to a third-place showing during her rookie season in the Atlantic Championship Series. Legge won her debut event in the Atlantic's taking the victory in Long Beach, which made her the first woman to win a major open-wheel race in North America. The win in Long Beach earned her Southern California's Top 2005 Racing Moment of the Year Award. Legge also won the 2005 Atlantic Championship Series BBS Rising Star Award and was named the winner of RACER magazine's Most Promising Road Racer Award. In the off-season, Legge tested with Formula 1's Minardi Team, A1 Grand Prix's Great Britain Team and Champ Car's Rocketsports Racing. She subsequently tested twice with PKV Racing before signing on February 14th.

Seriva, who had a solid qualifying effort at the season opener in Long Beach, starting eighth, was the innocent victim of a four car pile-up on the opening lap of the race. The 31-year-old native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain will be competing for the first time on the MSR Houston street circuit, but previously ran in Houston in 2000 and 2001 on a different circuit (best starting position of 15th and a best finishing position of in ninth both in 2000). Servia is also no stranger to night racing having run at night on the Milwaukee Mile oval in 2003 (started seventh and finished second) and 2004 (11th and seventh) and Cleveland airport street circuit in 2003 (fourth and sixth).

"I hope to make the race in Houston a special one because it will be my 100th career Champ Car start," Servia said. "I liked the schedule when we raced at night in Cleveland and Milwaukee, so I am sure it will go well in Houston. Maybe it is because I am from Barcelona, where there is a lot of night life, I don't know, but I definitely work well on a late schedule. The Gulfstream - PKV Racing team made good progress in testing last week in Sebring so I want to use what we learned to start putting some points on our account for this year."

Servia, who is contesting his seventh Champ Car season, has made 99 career Champ Car starts earning 51 top-ten finishes including 25 top-five showings, 12 podium performances and one victory (Montreal 2005). The resident of Miami, Florida is coming off a career year in which he placed second in the championship standings. After starting the 2005 season with Dale Coyne Racing, he replaced Bruno Junqueira in the Newman/Haas Racing machine after Junqueira was injured in the Indianapolis 500. Servia made 11 starts for Newman/Haas, earning seven podiums including the win in Montreal, his first career Champ Car victory.

Vasser, who earlier this year announced he would compete at Long Beach and selected other races during the 2006 season, will be on the sidelines for the Houston Grand Prix in his other capacity as co-owner of PKV Racing. The 40-year-old native of California, who is technically in his 15th Champ Car season, made his 232nd career and 211 consecutive Champ Car start in Long Beach. After starting 12th, he succumbed to an engine problem and finished 14th in what may be his last Long Beach Grand Prix and, perhaps, his last Champ Car race.

"It has been a great run," Vasser said. "I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to compete in this many consecutive races. I feel good about the fact that I am in the position I am today because it was my decision and my choice. At this point, I am very much looking forward to the beginning of my new role as a team owner in Champ Car."

PKV Racing will be making it first start on the streets of Houston, Texas. The team did not compete on the former street circuit.


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Oriol Servia , Lyn St. James , Katherine Legge , Janet Guthrie , Dale Coyne
Teams Dale Coyne Racing