Engine problem halts Visteon/Patrick Racing's qualifying effort; Servia to start 14th in tomorrow's Molson Indy Montreal. MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA -- SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 2002 -- Round ...
Engine problem halts Visteon/Patrick Racing's qualifying effort; Servia to start 14th in tomorrow's Molson Indy Montreal.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA -- SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 2002 -- Round #13 of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series - A problem with the engine during the first segment of today's final qualifying halted what promised to be a strong effort by the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
As a result of today's problem driver Oriol Servia will start the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry 14th on the grid in tomorrow's Molson Indy Montreal.
Servia, who has run consistently in the top-six all weekend, and was third on the speed charts following yesterday's morning practice, began the day sixth on the grid following Friday's provisional qualifying with a fast time of 80.161 seconds (121.660 mph). During this morning's practice the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team continued to make progress in terms of speed as they experimented with some setup changes in preparation for final qualifying. Servia's fast time in the morning session was 80.050 seconds (121.829 mph), which placed him ninth on both the individual and combined practice reports.
In the afternoon, CART's new qualifying procedures were used for the second time (first was yesterday). The new rules call for a 15-minute practice, followed by ten minutes of down time and then a 35-minute qualifying session with each team permitted to run 15 laps.
In the afternoon final practice the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team continued to work on their brakes, which are key on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve with its fast corners and chicanes. Servia ran only a handful of laps turning a quick time of 81.560 seconds (119.573 mph) placing him 15th on the speed charts.
In final qualifying the talented 28-year-old native of Pals, Catalonia, Spain went out on his first set of new tires and was just getting the car up to speed, when suddenly white smoke began to emanate from the engine. At the same time Michael Andretti had slowed on track, so a red flag was thrown. When Servia came into the pits the back cowling was removed and it immediately became apparent that his qualifying session was over. Fortunately, his time from the previous day was enough to keep him off the last two rows.
"It is a shame that we had the engine problem in qualifying because the Visteon/Patrick Racing car was very good yesterday and we made some improvements this morning," Servia said. "We were looking forward to moving up on the grid today, but sometimes things like this happen. This is the first time I have had a problem with the engine and, unfortunately, it came here at Montreal in qualifying after the car had been so good all weekend," he noted. "We ran some good times yesterday, but we ended up 14th on the grid. The good news is we have a very good car and there are some places to pass on this circuit, so we can still have a strong race tomorrow," Servia concluded.
Servia, who is in his third CART season (46 starts), is competing in his fourth event for Visteon/Patrick Racing and seventh of the 2002 FedEx Championship Series season. He has now qualified in the top-ten once in four attempts with Visteon/Patrick Racing and once in seven attempts this year. Visteon/Patrick Racing has now qualified in the top-ten in six of 13 races this year.
In his previous three races with Visteon/Patrick Racing Servia has qualified 15th and finished 14th in his debut at Vancouver, qualified 12th and finished tenth at Mid-Ohio and qualified ninth and finished 16th at Elkhart Lake. Despite what appear to be poor numbers, Servia has been extremely competitive particularly in the last two weeks. In Vancouver, he was in ninth place and moving up when a mechanical problem knocked him from the competition, while at Road America he was having an outstanding race, running as high as fifth, when a fuel pressure problem robbed him of a top-five finish.
Servia, who ran the first three races of the 2002 season with Pac West Racing, has finished in the points in four of his six starts this year and in the top-ten three times including a season best sixth place showing in Japan. He has qualified in the top-ten just once, the ninth place starting position last week in Elkhart Lake, while Visteon/Patrick Racing has qualified in the top-ten in six of the 12 races this year. Servia is currently 19th in the championship race with 16 points.
The Molson Indy Montreal will be televised live on Sunday, August 25 at 2:00 PM (ET) on Speed Channel. The pre-race show will air from 1:30 - 2:00 PM (ET).
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