CHAMPCAR/CART: Miami: Patrick Racing Friday report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia Qualifies Sixth On Provisional Grid For Grand Prix Americas MIAMI, FLORIDA - FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia Qualifies Sixth On Provisional Grid For Grand Prix Americas

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2003 -- Round #16 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -

Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified sixth on the provisional grid for Sunday's Grand Prix Americas in Miami, Florida.

Servia piloted 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 46.319 seconds (89.380 mph) on the 1.314-mile Miami temporary street circuit.

The day began with a steady rain falling. As a result, Servia and the Visteon/Patrick Racing crew spent the entire 95-minute morning practice session running on rain tires and working with their wet setup. By the end of the practice Servia had run a fast time of 58.764 seconds (70.451 mph) placing him 13th on the individual practice report. While not pleased with the result most of the team's disappointment resulted from the fact that they felt that had a good setup for dry conditions, which unfortunately, they were not able to test due to the rain.

However, for qualifying, which was run using the single car format employed at other short circuits (reverse order of practice times, three timed laps, best lap counting), the weather had changed and conditions were ideal. Reverting to their dry setup, but guessing a bit on the necessary changes, Servia went out seventh. At the conclusion of his run, he slotted in second behind Bruno Junqueira, who had gone out fourth and turned a fast time of 45.024 seconds (91.951 mph). Sure that his time would not hold up, Servia watched the remainder of qualifying from the scoring stand. As the faster cars from the morning session continued to fall by the wayside it soon became apparent that the Visteon/Patrick Racing engineering staff had come up with a solid setup and that Servia's qualifying lap would stand the test of time. It was only at the end of the session, when the track had more rubber and therefore more grip, that four other driver's were able to jumped ahead dropping Servia to the third row on the grid.

"Overall the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team had a good qualifying session today," Servia began. "We were one of the first cars on the track and because it rained in the morning the track was very green (clean). By the end of the qualifying session the track had definitely improved so we were at a little bit of a disadvantage going out as early as we did," he explained. "Another factor was that we worked on the setup exclusively in wet conditions during the morning practice, so we really had to guess on the setup for qualifying in the dry conditions. We were running on slick (dry) tires in qualifying plus you were not sure where to start braking because in the wet you had to brake a lot earlier," Servia added. "Because of all these factors I think our qualifying effort was good. I am happy with the way the Visteon/Patrick Racing car handled. I am happy with the lap I ran. But, I am in shock with the lap that Bruno Junqueira ran. He did an outstanding job," Servia noted. However, based upon today I am very confident that we can go faster tomorrow in final qualifying," he concluded.

The 29-year-old native of Spain has been very strong in qualifying this season. He has started in the top-10 in a CART career high 15 consecutive races with a single season high six 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 15 races this year.

Servia is coming off a career high tying second place finish at Montreal and third place showing at Denver. This is the first time in his CART career that he has finished on the podium in consecutive races. The resident of Miami, Florida has finished in the points in 11 of the 15 races this season and placed in the top-six in nine of his last 12 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, two straight podium finishes and career high second place showings at Milwaukee and Montreal, 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 69th career CART start, 26th for Visteon/Patrick Racing and second in Miami this weekend. In 68 previous CART races he has earned 32 top-ten finishes including 13 top-five showings with four podium performances. In his 25 starts with Visteon/Patrick Racing, 10 in 2002 and 15 this year, Servia has finished in the points 16 times with 13 top-10 finishes, nine top-five showings and three podiums. Last year at the inaugural Grand Prix Americas, Servia qualified 13th and finished 17th.

The Grand Prix Americas will be televised live by CBS on Sunday, September 28, at 1:00 PM (ET) (taped delayed in some markets at 4:30 PM (ET). Speed Channel will air tomorrow's final qualifying, which will begin at 1:15 PM (ET), tape delayed beginning at 8:00 PM (ET).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Oriol Servia