PKV RACING'S ORIOL SERVIA QUALIFIES FOURTH FOR TOMORROW'S GRAN PREMIO TECATE NEEL JANI TO START 11TH MEXICO CITY, MEXICO -- SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2007 -- Round ...
PKV RACING'S ORIOL SERVIA QUALIFIES FOURTH FOR TOMORROW'S GRAN PREMIO TECATE
NEEL JANI TO START 11TH
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO -- SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2007 -- Round #14 -- 2007 Champ Car World Series season -- PKV Racing's Oriol Servia qualified fourth while teammate Neel Jani will start 11th in tomorrow's Gran Premio Tecate Presented by Banamex at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico.
Servia, behind the wheel of the #22 Pay By Touch PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone car, qualified with a time of 84.324 seconds (118.429 mph) on the 2.774-mile, 17-turn permanent road course. Jani, who pilots the #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone machine, had a best lap of 84.929 seconds (117.585 mph).
Servia, who earned his highest starting position in seven attempts in Mexico City, his second top-five starting spot in as many attempts with PKV Racing this year and his seventh top-10 starting spot of the season, began and ended the day in the same position after provisionally qualifying fourth yesterday with a time of 85.436 seconds (116.887 mph). In morning practice, Servia clocked the seventh fast time of the session, 85.939 seconds (116.203 mph), as the Pay By Touch PKV Racing team spent the session experimenting with some changes in an effort to find more speed. Following the morning practice the team analyzed the data and decided to replace the engine in the #22 machine. Servia then spent most of the 15-minute pre-qualifying warm-up breaking in an essentially new car, which primarily account for him running just the ninth fastest lap of the session logging a time of 86.978 seconds (114.815 mph). Servia entered the final qualifying confident and for the second day in a row employed a three stint strategy. Having used one set of Bridgestone alternate ("red") tires in yesterday's provisional qualifying session, Servia made his first two runs on primary ("black") tires. He was sitting ninth on the speed charts when he switched to his final set of "reds" for his third stint. Running just three laps during this final segment he posted his fast time on the 10th and final lap of the qualifying session.
"I am actually very happy with the qualifying performance of the Pay By Touch PKV Racing team today," Servia said. "As I have said since the beginning of the weekend, I don't do very well at this track, but the team gave me a great car. I think in Australia I was giving a little more than the car had, but here the car is giving more than I am, so I am very happy qualifying third today and starting fourth. We need to finish this weekend, and the season on a high note, but I am just happy with the work we have done so far."
Jani, who was ninth on the grid following yesterday's provisional qualifying with a fast lap 86.156 seconds (115.911mph), started the day very strong. He was second on the speed charts following the morning practice notching at time of 84.882 seconds (117.650 mph). In the afternoon warm-up, Jani was 10th on the practice report with a time of 86.984 seconds (114.807), but with two sets of "red" tires in his pocket he was confident that he could improve his grid position in final qualifying. However, despite some good early results that was not to be the case. Using the traditional two stint qualifying strategy, Jani, on the Bridgestone alternate tire, was third on the speed charts following his first stint with a time of 85.249 seconds (117.317 mph). However, on his second run, again on "red', he was only able to gain an additional .3 seconds, which was not enough to keep him from dropping two places on the grid
"It was a strange qualifying session for the Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing team," Jani noted. "This morning I ran an 84.8. This afternoon, on my first run I did an 85.2 with a set of reds (Bridgestone alternate tire), which I thought wasn't too bad because I had some handling problems and a lot of traffic. Then on the second set of reds I only improved .3 and that was absolutely the limit. It was a very strange qualifying run and I really don't have an explanation for it. We will just have to look at the data and see what we can come up with for the race tomorrow."
Servia who is contesting his second event for PKV Racing after replacing Tristan Gommendy two weeks ago in Australia, is in a battle for a top-five position in the season ending standings. The personable 33-year-old Spaniard is ninth in the points with 212, but is just eight points out of fifth place. Servia has finished in the top-10 in 10 of his 12 starts this year (11 coming from Forsythe Championship Racing) with four top-five showings including two podium performances. In six previous races in Mexico, he has finished in the top-10 four times in his previous six races in Mexico with a best showing of fourth,
Jani, who has now qualified in the top-10 a total of eight times in 14 attempts this year with a best starting position of fourth, is working on a streak of nine consecutive top-10 finishes that has placed him in a position to become the first PKV Racing driver ever to finish in the top-five in the Championship standings (Vasser finished sixth in 2005). The 23-year-old native of Jens, Switzerland is currently sixth in the standings with 218 points; he is two points out of fifth and 16 out of fourth. In the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year title he lies in third place just two points behind second place. Jani has finished in the top-10 in 11 of 13 races with top-five showings and a PKV team record of three podium performances.
The Gran Premio Tecate Presented by Banamex Prix, November 9-11, at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico is the final round of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season. It will be televised live on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. (ET). For more information please visit: www.pkvracing.com