Wet conditions foil Visteon/Patrick Racing's bid to move-up starting grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix Americas. Servia to start 13th MIAMI, FLORIDA -- SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2002 -- Round ...
Wet conditions foil Visteon/Patrick Racing's bid to move-up starting grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix Americas.
Servia to start 13th
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2002 -- Round #16 of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series - Standing water from a series of rainstorms foiled Visteon/Patrick Racing's bid to move up the starting grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix Americas on the temporary street circuit in Miami, Florida.
Driver Oriol Servia, behind the wheel of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, with Toyota power and Bridgestone tires, had a solid final qualifying effort, but like the rest of the field was forced to use rain tires making today's times considerably slower than yesterday's provisional qualifying session. Servia will, therefore, line-up 13th on the starting grid and start from the inside of Row #7.
Visteon/Patrick Racing began the day 13th on the provisional grid with a fast time of 62.891 seconds (79.395 mph) and confident that they could move up the gird in final qualifying. However, it was apparent from the outset that weather and track conditions would be a controlling factor, as rain showers last night, during morning practice and just prior to final qualifying left standing water in several turns. CART personnel worked diligently to get the 1.54-mile circuit in race condition, but teams still found it necessary to run the entire final qualifying session on rain tires. Because of the use of the grooved and treaded rain tires instead of the faster, slick, dry tires, times were approximately 11 seconds slower today than in yesterday's qualifying session. Servia's quick lap in final qualifying was 71.831 seconds (69.513 mph), which placed him seventh on the individual practice report. Despite being solidly in the top-ten today, when the times for both qualifying sessions were combined, he remained 13th on the grid.
"Even though the track conditions were not ideal, the Visteon/Patrick Racing car felt better today than yesterday," Servia said. "Unfortunately the wet conditions forced us to use rain tires and prevented us achieving our maximum speed. The car was much better through the tight corners today, so I think we could have moved up the grid if it had been dry," he explained.
"With the improvements we made I think the Visteon/Patrick Racing car will be good in tomorrow's race. It is going to be very hard to pass, but this is the kind of track where people make a lot of mistakes, so hopefully, with a good car we can take advantage. The other thing I have going for me is that Mr. Patrick and Jim McGee are known for coming up with good race strategies, so I am counting on them to help get me into a position to race for a top-finish," Servia concluded.
The 28-year-old resident of Miami will be making his 50th career CART start, seventh for Visteon/Patrick Racing and tenth of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season in tomorrow's Grand Prix Americas. Servia, who began the year running the first three races with Pac West Racing, joined Visteon/Patrick Racing at the end of July in Vancouver. He was subsequently signed to contest the remainder of the 2002 season.
The talented and personable native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain has finished in the points in six of his nine starts this year and in the top-ten four times with a best showing of fourth at the Rockingham 500 in Corby, England. Servia is currently 18th in the championship race with 30 points. He has qualified in the top-ten once in seven attempts with Visteon/Patrick Racing and once in ten attempts this year (ninth at Elkhart Lake). Visteon/Patrick Racing has qualified in the top-ten in six of 16 races this year.
The Grand Prix Americas will be televised on Sunday, October 6 on CBS. It will run live in some markets and tape delayed in other. Airtime for the live broadcast is 1:00 PM (ET) the tape delay time is 4:30 - 6:00 PM (ET).