CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Patrick Racing Friday report

Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified 14th on the provisional grid for Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues in Mexico City, Mexico. Servia drove the ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified 14th on the provisional grid for Sunday's Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues in Mexico City, Mexico.

Servia drove the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, to a quick lap of 90.383 seconds (110.968) on the 2.786-mile permanent road course.

In the morning's first practice Servia ran a fast time of 90.739 seconds (110.532 mph) placing him sixth on the individual practice report. In the second practice the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team experienced a mechanical problem that prevented them from completing a single lap. As a result Servia ended up 15th on the combined practice report based on his time from the first session.

In qualifying it was apparent from the outset that the Visteon/Patrick Racing car was having a problem. The crew checked to make sure all the components were to the proper spec, however after all the checks were completed the team was unable to resolve the problem. Following qualifying it was decided that the engine, all of its accessories parts and components would be changed for tomorrow's practice and final qualifying.

"It was a very frustrating day for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team," Servia said. "In the morning we had a mechanical problem that kept us out of the second practice session," he began. "Then in this afternoon's provisional qualifying we had some problems with the car. We are not really sure what it is, so we are going to have to go through all of data to see if we can identify the problem. The Visteon/Patrick Racing crew is also going to go through the entire car plus change the engine," Servia explained. "It is unfortunate. We had expectations of coming to Mexico City and being quick right off the transporter just like we have been the last few races. Fortunately, this is a veteran team with very strong leadership, so I am confident we will identify the problem, get it fixed and be ready to have a strong qualifying effort tomorrow," he concluded.

Servia, who qualified 16th and finished ninth in the inaugural Mexico City race last year, has been very strong in qualifying this season. He has started in the top-10 in a CART career high 16 consecutive races with a single season high seven top-five qualifying positions including career high second place starting positions in Montreal and Denver. Servia is the only driver to start in the top-10 in all 16 races this year.

The 29-year-old native of Spain is coming off a 19th place finish in Miami, but his showing there was not indicative of how competitive he was all weekend. Servia qualified third at Miami and was running third when he lost control of the car going over the bump at the exit to the hairpin and hit the wall ending his day. The resident of Miami, Florida, who is having the best season of his CART career, has finished in the points in 11 of the 16 races this season and placed in the top-six in nine of his last 13 events. He is sixth in the standings with 108 points.

Now in his fourth CART season and second with Visteon/Patrick Racing, Servia has established a number of personal CART career records this season. In addition to the qualifying records, he has earned career high second place showings at Milwaukee and Montreal plus finished on the podium in consecutive races for the first time (Montreal, second and Denver, third). Servia has earned a single season high nine top-10 finishes including a single season high seven top-five showings. He has also set CART career records for consecutive top-six finishes, seven, top-10 showings, seven and points paying performances, eight.

Servia will be making his 70th career CART start and 27th for Visteon/Patrick Racing this weekend. In 69 previous CART races he has earned 32 top-ten finishes including 13 top-five showings with four podium performances. In his 26 starts with Visteon/Patrick Racing, 10 in 2002 and 16 this year, Servia has finished in the points 16 times with 13 top-10 finishes, nine top-five showings and three podiums.

The Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante will be televised live by Speed Channel on Sunday, October 12, at 4:00 PM (ET). The pre-race show will begin at 3:30 PM (ET).

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia