Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia captures provisional pole for Molson Indy Montreal. MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA - FRIDAY AUGUST 21, 2003 -- Round ...
Visteon/Patrick Racing's Oriol Servia captures provisional pole for Molson Indy Montreal.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA - FRIDAY AUGUST 21, 2003 -- Round #14 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia captured the provisional pole for Sunday's Molson Indy Montreal on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Servia, behind the wheel of the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, dominated the speed charts all day, but even more so in qualifying. His quick qualifying lap of 81.112 seconds (120.234 mph) was almost three tenth of a second faster than runner-up Paul Tracy. The provisional pole guarantees Servia a front row starting position for Sunday's race regardless of the results of tomorrow's final qualifying. It also pays one championship point giving the native of Spain a total of 77. He remains in seventh place in the championship standings
The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team came off the transporter firing on all cylinders today as Servia topped the speed charts in both of the 50-minute morning practice sessions. He ran a quick lap of 84.325 seconds (115.653 mph) in the first practice. In the second session Servia ran just six laps, but still improved his time to 82.560 seconds (118.125 mph), which again placed him at the top of the individual practice report.
The ten-minute warm-up prior to qualifying was the only time today that Servia did not finish with the fastest lap, but that appeared to more a result of traffic problems than anything else. Servia's quick time in the warm-up was 82.514 seconds, (118.191 mph), which placed him third on both the individual and combined practice report.
As qualifying began the entire Visteon/Patrick Racing Team was brimming with confidence. With 25 minutes remaining in the 40-minute qualifying session Servia went out for his first stint. On the second lap he jumped to second place then on the third lap he moved into first. Servia stayed at the top of the grid for the next two laps when a red flag came out ending the first segment. While waiting for the track to be cleared the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team put on the second set of tires and with 11 minutes remaining in qualifying Servia began his second stint. Following his "out" lap Servia battled traffic for the next three laps, but still remained on the pole. He spent his tenth lap getting some spacing from the other cars. At the same time Tracy notched his fastest lap of the day knocking Servia off the pole. Looking to recapture the top spot Servia was running a fast lap when he became entangled with Bruno Junquiera nullifying the effort. With time running out Servia made one final attempt and on his last lap of the day, with the checkered flag waving, he regained the pole.
"I am, obviously very happy for the whole Visteon/Patrick Racing Team," Servia said. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team really deserves this. We have worked very hard and finally we at least have a provisional pole. I felt very confident from the beginning of the day. The car was doing exactly what I wanted and I really like this track. We were quick here last year with the Reynard, so I knew we had a good chance to do well and we took advantage of the opportunity. Now we just have to keep improving for tomorrow, take the pole and then win the race. That would be very satisfying," Servia concluded.
Commenting on the incident with Junqueira, Servia said, "I don't know what is going on with Bruno and myself. We are good friends off the track, but on it we just don't seem to get along. I was doing a fast lap and came up on Bruno. He had caught some traffic, then, he braked really hard in the hairpin. I could not avoid him. I touched him, but it didn't damage the car. Then I came around past the pits and saw that I was in second place. I was first for a long time today then with two laps left I was second. I didn't like that very much so I knew I had to put a good lap together. Fortunately, I did it and we can celebrate having the pole for a least a day."
The 29-year-old resident of Miami, Florida will be making his second start in a champ car in Montreal. Last year, he was also dominant in practice, but fell victim to an engine problem in qualifying and started 14th. In the race he experienced a mechanical problem and finished 16th.
Servia is the only driver to have qualified in the top-10 in all 13 events this season. The 13 consecutive top-10 starting positions are his CART career high. Servia's highest starting position this year is fourth at Monterrey, Mexico; Brands Hatch, England, Cleveland, Ohio at last weekend at Elkhart Lake. His best CART career qualifying position is third at Texas in 2001 (race was cancelled). His highest career starting position is fourth, first achieved at Nazareth in 2001, and then matched at the four events this season. Patrick Racing has earned 31 pole positions in it 31 years of open wheel competition. The team's last pole came in 2001 when Roberto Moreno piloted the Visteon/Patrick Racing entry to the front of the grid in Australia.
Despite failing to finish the last three races, Servia is having the best season of his four-year CART career. He has scored points in nine of the 13 races this year and has finished in the top-six in seven of his last ten events. Servia has earned a single season high five top-five finishes including a CART career best second place showing (Milwaukee). Additionally, he has set personal CART career records for consecutive top- six finishes, seven, top-10 showings, seven and points paying performances, eight.
Servia will be making his 67th career CART start and 24th for Visteon/Patrick Racing this weekend. In 66 CART career events he has earned 30 top-ten finishes including 11 top-five showings with two podium performances. In his 23 starts with Visteon/Patrick Racing, 10 in 2002 and 13 this year, Servia has finished in the points 14 times with 11 top-10 finishes including seven top-five showings and one podium (Milwaukee).
The Molson Indy Montreal will be televised tape delayed on Speed Channel on Sunday, August 24, at 9:00 PM (ET). The pre-race show will begin at 8:30 PM (ET). Speed will also air qualifying on Saturday, August 22, beginning at 2:00 PM (ET).
For background, statistical information, releases, notes, quotes plus updates on race weekends, go to (www.patrickracing.com).