CHAMPCAR/CART: Lexington: Patrick Racing Friday qualifying report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia qualifies 13th on provisional grid for CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio. LEXINGTON, OHIO -- FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 2002 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia qualifies 13th on provisional grid for CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.

LEXINGTON, OHIO -- FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 2002 -- Round #11 of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series - Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia provisionally qualified 13th today for Sunday's CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Servia, who signed with the team on July 23rd to drive five races, is competing in his second event for Visteon/Patrick Racing. He debuted in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, with Toyota power and Bridgestone tires, two weeks ago at the Molson Indy Vancouver.

The 28-year-old native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain began the day working diligently with the Visteon/Patrick Racing engineering staff on the car's setup during a 90-minute morning practice session. Although the team steadily improved the car their final time did not accurately reflect their progress. After getting a new set of tires up to temperature in the closing minutes of the practice Servia lost his final "hot" lap to a red flag while several other competitors were able to completed theirs prior to the waving red/checkered flag ending the session. Servia's fastest lap in morning practice was 68.992 seconds (117.822 mph) placing him 17th on the speed charts.

During provisional qualifying the talented resident of Miami, Florida made a substantial gain in both speed and position. Waiting until track conditions were at the optimum the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team sent Servia out with 25 minutes remaining in the 60 minute qualifying period. Red flags once again hampered the session limiting most of the drivers to less than their allotted 15 qualifying laps. Servia got in 12 laps turning a quick time of 68.087 seconds (199.388 mph). The time jumped him four spots on the speed charts putting him 13th on the provisional grid.

"This is my second weekend in the Visteon/Patrick Racing car, so I am feeling much more comfortable," Servia said. "However, overall, I am not happy with our qualifying effort today. We are 13th on the provisional grid, which is not where we want to be. The good news is that we closed the gap to the leaders from the morning practice to afternoon qualifying. We are just .3 of a second out of seventh place, which is where we should be right now. This is a track where if you make an improvement and are just a little quicker in the corners it makes a big difference," he explained. "I don't think we can improve by a full second, but I think we can find a half second and that would put the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team in the top-five," Servia noted.

Servia, who is competing at Mid-Ohio for the third time, has finished in the top-ten in both his previous starts. In 2000, he started 17th and finished tenth. Last year he came from last on the starting grid to finish ninth. Patrick Racing, which is making its 27th appearance at Mid-Ohio, has an enviable record on the beautiful and challenging 2.258-mile, 12-turn permanent road circuit. In 26 previous races they have qualified in the top-ten 13 times and in the top-five four times. They have finished in the top-ten 16 times, with nine top-five showings including two wins. Emerson Fittipaldi captured the team's first victory in 1988. However, it was in 1998 when the team had one of the finest moments in Patrick Racing history when it swept the top-two spots with Adrian Fernandez taking the win and Scott Pruett piloting the Visteon/Patrick Racing car to a runner-up showing.

Now in his third CART season (44 starts), Servia began the season running the first three events with Pac West Racing. The resident of Miami, Florida finished in the points in all three of those races placing in the top-ten twice with a best showing of sixth in Motegi, Japan. When PWR ceased operations, Servia was forced to sit out the next six contests before signing with Visteon/Patrick Racing. He is currently 19th in the championship standings with 13 points.

The CART Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio will be televised on Sunday, August 11 at 12:30 PM (ET) on CBS. Speed Channel will air CART Friday Night tonight at 10:30 PM (ET) and Saturday's (August 10) qualifying from 1:30 - 3:00 (ET).

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Oriol Servia , Scott Pruett , Emerson Fittipaldi
Teams ART Grand Prix