CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca: Patrick Racing Friday report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia tenth on provisional grid for Grand Prix of Monterey. MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA -- FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia tenth on provisional grid for Grand Prix of Monterey.

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA -- FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2003 -- Round #3 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified tenth on the provisional gird today for Sunday's Grand Prix of Monterey at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.

Servia drove the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, to a fast time of 71.227 seconds (113.114 mph) on the beautiful and challenging Laguna Seca permanent road circuit.

The talented 28-year-old sat through most of the of the first of two morning practice sessions when the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team decided to make a gear change shortly after the start of the session. However, Servia came back in the waning moments of the 50-minute practice to post a fast lap of 72.329 seconds (111.391 mph), which placed him ninth on the speed charts. During the second practice the team patiently worked to get the setup right as Servia spent the session solidly in the top-10 reaching as high as first. On his final lap of the practice he clicked off his fastest time turning a quick lap of 71.465 seconds (112.738 mph), which placed him third in the session and fourth on the combined practice report.

In qualifying, Servia went out on his first set of tires and ran six of his allotted 15 laps. After the first stint he was sitting in seventh place having run his quick time of the session. With the car still not handling to his liking the team made some changes and put on a new set of tires. Servia went back out, but unfortunately before he could get the tires up to maximum temperate a red flag was thrown. The track went green again with about seven minutes left in the session, which was not enough time for Servia to get the tires up to temperature for one final quick run and he fell back to tenth on the grid.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team did not have the best qualifying session of the year today," Servia noted. "The track was very different from what we expected when we came here, so we spent most of the day catching up," he explained.

"The bad news is we are 10th on the provisional grid. The good news is the Visteon/Patrick Racing car is not very good, so it means we have a lot of room to improve and move up the grid. And, the most important thing is we have a very good idea of how to make the car for tomorrow's final qualifying," Servia concluded.

Servia is competing at Laguna Seca for the third time. In 2000 he qualified 10th and finished 17th. He started 21st and placed 17th in 2001.

The native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain has been very strong in qualifying thus far this year. He has started in the top-ten at all six CART events this season, which is a career high. Servia's best starting position this season is fourth at Monterrey and Brands Hatch. His highest career CART qualifying position is third at Texas in 2001, however the race was cancelled. His highest CART career starting position is fourth at Nazareth in 2001, Monterey and Brands Hatch.

In addition to his qualifying record Servia is attempting to extend a couple of other streaks this weekend. He is coming off a thrilling race in Milwaukee where he finished a CART career best second. The podium finish was his third consecutive top-five showing this year, also a CART career high, and the fourth straight time he has placed in the points, one short of his career high. Servia has finished in the points in five of the six events this year and is currently seventh in the championship standings with 40 points.

The resident of Miami, Florida, who has campaigned with four different teams over his four-year CART career, will be making his 60th career start and 17th for Visteon/Patrick Racing here in Monterey. In 59 CART events he has earned 26 top-ten finishes including nine top-five showings with two podium performances. In his 16 starts with Visteon/Patrick Racing, 10 in 2002 and six this year, Servia has finished in the points ten times with six top-10 finishes including five top-five showings and one podium.

Patrick Racing will be making its 26th start at Laguna Seca. In 25 previous events the team has qualified in the top-10 a total of 16 times. There highest starting position is third in 1983 by Chip Ganassi and 1997 with Scott Pruett. They have finished in the top-10 a total of 15 times with a best showing of third again by Ganassi in 1983 and Pruett, but in 1996. Patrick Racing's last pole came at Australia in 2001 with Roberto Moreno. The team's last win was at Vancouver in 2001 also with Moreno.

The Grand Prix of Monterrey will be televised live on CBS on Sunday, June 15 at 3:30 PM (ET). Speed Channel will show a delayed qualifying show on Saturday, June 14 at 5:30 PM (ET).

For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com).

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia , Scott Pruett , Chip Ganassi