CHAMPCAR/CART: Monterrey: PKV Racing Saturday report

PKV RACING'S SERVIA QUALIFIES SEASON HIGH SEVENTH FOR TECATE GRAND PRIX OF MONTERREY LEGGE TO START 17TH MONTERREY, NUEVO LEON, MEXICO -- SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2006 -- Round ...

PKV RACING'S SERVIA QUALIFIES SEASON HIGH SEVENTH FOR TECATE GRAND PRIX OF MONTERREY

LEGGE TO START 17TH

MONTERREY, NUEVO LEON, MEXICO -- SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2006 -- Round #3 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing drivers Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge qualified seventh and 17th respectively for tomorrow's Tecate Grand Prix of Monterrey.in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

Servia, who piloted the #6 Gulfsteam -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone machine to his best starting position of the season, had a fast lap of 74.553 seconds (101.598 mph) and will start on the inside of row four. Legge who is behind the wheel of the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car, struggled a bit, qualifying with a lap of 76.351seconds (99.205 mph). She will start on the inside of row eight.

Servia began the day eighth on the grid after Friday's provisional qualifying with a quick time of 75.731 seconds (100.017 mph). In Saturday's morning practice the 31-year-old Catalonian quickly found over a half a second on the challenging and slick 2.104-mile, 10 turn Parque Fundidora permanent road course. His fast lap came in at 75.209 seconds (100.711 mph), which moved him into the top-six on both the individual and combined practice reports. During the 15-minute, pre-qualifying/warm-up afternoon practice, Servia posted a time of 75.542 seconds (100.267 mph), which placed him sixth on the speed charts for the session and left sixth on the combined report based on his morning practice time. In qualifying, Servia waited about ten minutes before going out on his first set of tires, unfortunately after running just one lap a red flag fell forcing him back into the pits. When the green flag was waved, Servia immediately went back out. He ran four more laps, two short of a normal seven lap stint, but with the clock ticking the team felt it best to bring him in early for new tires while still leaving him enough time to run a full second stint. While the strategy was indeed correct it didn't matter since Servia ended up running his fast lap on the fourth lap of his first stint.

"The Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team's qualifying session did not go as well as we had hoped coming into this weekend," Servia said. "We expected to be a little better, but, to be honest it was our best qualifying session this season. We are .03 out of sixth place--still far away from the pole, but we are getting closer to the front of the grid," he noted. "Hopefully, this will be a safer spot to start the race and we can get some points toward the championship. Overall, I am happy. The PKV Racing team is working very hard to improve the car and we are making progress," Servia concluded.

Seriva, who will be making his 101st career Champ Car start, third with PKV Racing and sixth in Monterrey, has now qualified in the top-10 in all three races contested during the 2006 season. In addition to his seventh place starting position here in Monterrey, he qualified eighth at both Long Beach and Houston. This was his sixth qualifying attempt in Monterrey. He has now qualified in the top-10 five times at Fundidora Park with a best starting position of fourth in 2003.

Servia has experienced some bad luck during the first two races of the season. In Long Beach, he was the innocent victim of a four car pile-up on the opening lap of the race and finished 18th. At Houston, he became entangled with Alex Tagliani while attempting to pass for fourth place and ended up 12th. Servia is currently 16th in the championship standings with 12 points. In five previous races in Monterrey he has finished in the top-10 twice with a best showing of ninth last year.

Now in his seventh Champ Car season, Servia has earned 51 top-ten finishes including 25 top-five showings, 12 podium performances and one victory (Montreal 2005). The resident of Miami, Florida who has finished in the top-10 in the standings the last three years, is coming off his best Champ Car season after placing second last year.

Legge, was 16th on the provisional grid with a time 78.159 seconds (96.910 mph) following Friday's qualifying session. After an engine change following yesterday's qualifying and an evening's worth of data evaluation, the 25-year-old Brit instantly began to find more speed beginning with the morning practice session where she clocked a quick lap of 76.022 seconds (99.634 mph) placing her 12th on both the individual and combined practice reports. In the afternoon warm-up, Legge could only manage a fast lap of 76.945 seconds (9998.439 mph), which put her 16th on the individual practice report and dropped her to 13th on the combined report based on her morning time. During final qualifying, Legge went out almost from the opening green flag and appeared to be on the move. She turned a lap of 76.405 seconds on her fourth lap, but on lap six she spun off and the car stalled. After getting restarted and returning to the pits, the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team serviced the car and sent her back on track. She ran her two fastest laps of the weekend during her second stint, but her fastest lap, a 76.09 which would have moved her up one place on the grid, was nullified by the penalty assessed for causing the red flag.

"Obviously, I am very disappointed," Legge said. "I made a few mistakes out there today and it cost me. At this point I just have to learn from my mistakes and keep going forward," she noted. "The Bell Micro -- PKV Racing crew has been great. They have worked very hard and continue to be extremely supportive. I am just sorry that I couldn't have given them a better qualifying effort today. Hopefully, I can make it up to them by doing a good job in the race," Legge concluded.

Legge, who is in her first Champ Car season, will be making her third career Champ Car and first in Monterrey (she competed in the Atlantic race at Fundidora Park last year qualifying eighth and finishing fifth). The Indianapolis, Indiana resident has now qualified 17th twice and 15th (at Long Beach) in the first three races of the season, however her qualifying efforts are not reflective of how much progress she has made in learning to drive a Champ Car. She has also performed remarkably well in the first two races of the season. In her Champ Car debut at Long Beach she finished eighth, then at Houston she was running 12th, and headed for a top-10 finish, when she was hit by another competitor forcing her to the sidelines for repairs. Rejoining the race several laps down, she fought her way to a 14th place finish. Legge is currently 11th in the championship standings with 22 points. She is third in the Champ Car rookie points race (Will Power -30 and Jan Heyland -- 26).

-pkvr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Tagliani , Oriol Servia , Katherine Legge , Will Power