CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach: Patrick Racing Friday report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia seventh on provisional grid for Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia seventh on provisional grid for Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2003 -- Round #3 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified seventh on the provisional gird for Sunday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, California.

Servia piloted the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, to a fast lap of 69.546 seconds (101.872 mph) on the challenging Long Beach temporary street circuit.

The 28-year-old native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain began the day breaking in a set of rain tires during the first of two morning practice sessions. He had a fast lap of 78.657 seconds (90.072 mph) in the first session putting him 18th on the individual practice report. Switching to slick Bridgestone racing tires for the second session, Servia quickly moved into the more familiar position as one of the fastest cars on the track. He ended the second session with a quick lap of 70.439 seconds (100.581 mph) placing him sixth on both the individual and combined practice report.

In the ten-minute practice prior to qualifying Servia went out on old tires and, while he did not improve his time, he did end up second in the session with a fast lap of 70.555 seconds (100.415 mph). However, he fell one spot, to seventh, on the combined practice report.

In qualifying, Servia again was running in the top six, and as high as fourth, for most of the session. He turned what was to be his fast time halfway through the second stint. Unable to improve on the quick time, three other competitors slipped based him just prior to a red flag, which brought qualifying to an early conclusion.

"Today's qualifying session for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team was okay," Servia said. "It is just that we are used to being in the top-three all the time, so it feels bad when you are seventh," he noted. "I was a little surprise because the Visteon/Patrick Racing car was very quick in practice on old tires in the final practice. The car was well balanced on old tires. However, on new tires, the balance changed and it caught us a little off guard," Servia explained.

"At the end of the day we just didn't have the best car. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team has to sit down, figure out where it is that we can improve the car and, hopefully, it won't rain tomorrow for final qualifying tomorrow. I am confident that we will have an improved car tomorrow," he concluded.

This will be Servia's fourth start with his fourth different team on the streets of Long Beach. In three previous races he has finished in the points twice with a best showing of sixth. In 2000 he started 21st and finished sixth with PPI Motorsports. He qualified 24th and finished 14th in 2001 with Sigma Autosport and then qualified 13th and finished 11th in 2002 driving for PacWest Racing.

Servia, who is in his fourth Champ Car season and second with Visteon/Patrick Racing, will be making his 56th career CART start and 13th with the team this weekend in Long Beach. The resident of Miami, Florida has finished in the points in six of his 12 starts for Visteon/Patrick Racing with four top-10 finishes and two top-five performances. In 55 Champ Car starts, Servia has earned 23 top-ten finishes including six top- five showings and one podium, a career best third place performance at the 2000 Detroit Grand Prix.

Servia's best qualifying effort last year was ninth at Elkhart Lake and Australia. His highest Champ Car career qualifying position is third at Texas in 2001, however the race was cancelled. His highest starting position is fourth at Nazareth in 2001 and three weeks ago in Monterrey, Mexico. Visteon/Patrick Racing's best starting position in 2002 was fifth at Long Beach. Now in its 31st year of open wheel competition, Patrick Racing has a total of 31 poles in 769 starts. Roberto Moreno captured the team's last pole at the 2001 Australia race.

Patrick Racing will be making its 26th start at Long Beach. In 25 previous events the team has qualified in the top-10 a remarkable 18 times and in the top-five nine times with a best starting position of third (Emerson Fittipaldi - 1987 and Adrian Fernandez - 1998). They have finished in the points 14 times with eight top-10 showings and six top-five performances. The team's best finish is second (Fittipaldi - 1985 and Scott Pruett - 1995).

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised live on Speed Channel. Saturday, April 12, qualifying will be aired live from 4:30 PM (ET). The pre-race show will begin at 3:30 PM (ET) on Sunday, April 13, with the race shown live beginning at 4:00 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 Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno , Oriol Servia , Scott Pruett