CHAMPCAR/CART: Mexico City: Patrick Racing race report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia finishes 13th at Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante. MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia finishes 13th at Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2003 -- Round #17 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -

Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia finished 13th today in the Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodrigues in Mexico City, Mexico.

Servia piloting the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, struggled in qualifying, but after a brilliant race strategy and outstanding pit work from the Visteon/Patrick Racing team, was staring at a top-10 finish when he was hit from behind on lap 65 ending any chance of finishing in the points.

The 29-year-old native of Spain, who qualified 16th, was on the move from the moment the green flag fell. The race began with a yellow flag and went green on lap two, however, a pile-up in turn one saw Servia jump four places to 12th by the end of the second lap. He moved into 11th place on lap 13 when Luis Diaz went out with mechanical problems and held position through the first round of pit stops. Servia took over tenth place on lap 32 when Michel Jourdain pitted just as the window for the second round of pit stops opened. Studying the situation Visteon/Patrick Racing General Manager Jim McGee made the first of two brilliant strategy moves pitting Servia on lap 36. Servia temporarily rejoined the race in 13th place, but more importantly now had more flexibility in terms of his pit window than the cars in front of him. When the rest of the field came in at the mandatory pit window on lap 38, Servia moved back into 10th place. He remained 10th until Jourdain pitted for the third time on lap 51 moving Servia into ninth place. With the field still packed up following a yellow flag McGee saw the opportunity to make up even more track position and pitted Servia on lap 52. Following the stop Servia emerged in 12th place and when the leaders pitted at the maximum fuel window on lap 57 it became apparent that the strategy hard worked well and almost to perfection. Servia moved into ninth place when the leaders pitted, but was within tenths of a second of picking up an additional four positions. Eight laps later all the hard work was nullified when Adrian Fernandez came charging from behind and hit Servia knocking him off the track. Servia was able to keep the car running and get back on the circuit, but by then he was in 13th place where he finished.

"It was a very tough race for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team," Servia said. "When you start 16th you know things aren't going to be easy, but for a moment I though things could go our way," he noted. "We had a very good strategy for the race and the Visteon/Patrick Racing crew did a great job in the pits. The car was good through the corners, but we just didn't have enough straight-line speed. I had a lot of good battles today, but there is no way to pass anyone and it is hard to defend your position if you are not quick on the straightaway," Servia explained. "We were actually in a position to have a good finish, maybe top-five, but things just didn't go our way today. Then at the end Fernandez hit me from behind and that took away our top-10 finish. It was a very disappointing end to a very tough weekend for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team," he concluded.

Servia, who was making his second start in Mexico City, has qualified 16th twice on the 2.786-mile, 16 turn Mexico City permanent road circuit. He finished ninth at the inaugural Gran Premio Telmex-Gigante last year.

With today's result, Servia has now finished in the points in 11 of the 17 races this season and placed in the top-six in nine of his last 14 events. He is currently seventh in the championship standings with 108 points.

Servia, who is having the best season of his CART career, has established a number of personal career records this season. He has finished a career high second at Milwaukee and Montreal, earned a single season high nine top- 10 placements, scored a single season high seven top-five showings and a single season high three podium finishes including consecutive podium performances (Montreal, second and Denver, third) for the first time in his career. Servia has also set personal CART career records for consecutive top-six finishes, seven, top-10 showings, seven and points paying performances, eight. In addition, the resident of Miami, Florida has earned career high qualifying positions at Montreal and Denver where he started second, qualified in the top-10 a CART career high 16 consecutive times, earned a single season high 16 top-10 starting positions and a single season high seven top-five starting positions.

Now in his fourth CART season and second with Visteon/Patrick Racing, Servia has earned 32 top-ten finishes including 13 top-five showings with four podium performances in 70 CART starts. In his 27 starts with Visteon/Patrick Racing, 10 in 2002 and 17 this year, Servia has finished in the points 16 times with 13 top-10 finishes, nine top-five showings and three podiums.

Next up for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team is the Lexmark Indy 300 on the temporary street circuit in Surfers Paradise, Australia, October 24-26.

-pr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Oriol Servia , Luis Diaz , Michel Jourdain