CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: PKV Racing Saturday report

PKV RACING QUALIFIES FIFTH AND 16TH FOR FOR GRAND PRIX OF MONTREAL MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA -- SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2006 -- Round ...

PKV RACING QUALIFIES FIFTH AND 16TH FOR FOR GRAND PRIX OF MONTREAL

MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA -- SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2006 -- Round #11 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing's Oriol Servia qualified fifth while teammate Katherine Legge will start 16th in tomorrow's Grand Prix of Montreal at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Servia, the Montreal Grand Prix defending Champions, qualified the #6 Gulfstream -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone in the top-10 for the tenth time in 11 attempts this season and in the top-five for the fifth time, posting a lap of 80.691 seconds (120.861 mph). He will start on the inside of Row #3. Legge, who will line-up on the outside of Row #8 in the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone car, ran a lap of 82.902 seconds (117.638 mph).

Servia began the day second on the grid following yesterday's provisional qualifying with a fast lap of 81.523 (119.628 mph). In morning practice, he recorded the fifth fastest lap of the session posting a time of 81.443 seconds (119.745 mph), which also placed him fifth on the combined practice report.

During the 15-minute afternoon pre-qualifying/warm-up, Servia ran the most laps, eight, and turned the fastest time, 81.407 seconds (119.798), of the session. Following their usual strategy, the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team sat out the first six minutes of the 30-minute qualifying session before beginning their first stint. Servia, on black primary tires, ran eight laps during the stint bouncing between second and fifth with each circuit of the track. He posted a fast time of 80.922 seconds on his sixth lap, which put him fifth on the speed charts at the end of the run. His second stint, which was done on the red alternate tire, began with eight minutes to go and went for seven more laps for a total of 15. Servia recorded his fast time on the fifth lap of the second run, his 13th overall.

"Today was one of those deals where the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team is happy that we qualified in the top-five, but we really had high hopes to either fight for the pole or be in the first two rows," Servia said. "The grid is so close--one tenth of second and we would have been third. So, once again we showed that the PKV Racing team is doing good work and improving," he noted.

The 32-year-old Catalan, who currently sits in a tie for ninth in the championship standings with 140 points is just nine points out of fourth place. He is looking to use this weekend's race in Montreal as a springboard in his efforts to move into the top-five in the final standings. Servia, who has enjoyed considerable success in Montreal, will be making his fifth start on the 2.709-mile, 13-turn permanent road circuit. He has now qualified in the top-10 four times in five attempts in Montreal with a best starting position of second, which he earned in 2003 and again last year. Servia has finished in the top-10 three times in four previous races. In addition to last year's win he has placed second in 2003 and ninth in 2004.

Commenting on the tomorrow's race Servia said, "It is always exciting to come to Montreal. The city is great and I have always liked the race track because it has been good to me. I was second in 2003, won here last year and hopefully can do it win again this year for PKV Racing and Gulfstream.

Servia, who will be making his 11th start for PKV Racing this weekend, has been remarkably consistent in qualifying this year. His ten top-10 starting positions are two short of the team record for a season, set by Jimmy Vasser and Cristiano da Matta both in 2005, one short of the team record for top-five starting positions in a season, set by da Matta also last year, and he holds the team record for consecutive top-five starting spots with four. Servia qualified a season high fourth in Cleveland, fifth in Edmonton, Toronto and San Jose; seventh twice, Milwaukee and Monterrey, Mexico, eighth three times, Long Beach, Houston and Denver and 12th in Portland. He has finished in the top-10 in six of the ten races this year including three top five showings and the team's only podium performance of the season a third place finish in Cleveland. In addition to the podium, Servia finished fourth in Edmonton, fifth in Milwaukee, eighth in Monterrey and San Jose and 10th in Portland. In the four races Servia has not finished in the top-10, three times he was the innocent victim of crashes, Long Beach on the opening lap; running fifth in Houston when he was hit late in the race; running fifth in Toronto when he was hit again late in the race. In the fourth race he was running in fifth in Denver when he had an engine problem early in the race. Servia, a resident of Miami, Florida, is fifth in laps led with 30 and ninth in laps completed (830 out of 1008).

Now in his seventh Champ Car season, Servia will be making his 109th career start tomorrow. He has earned 57 top-ten finishes including 28 top-five showings, 13 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 placing second last year.

Legge was 15th on the provisional grid with a time of 83.663 seconds (116.568 mph). In morning practice she notched a fast lap of 82.727 seconds (117.887 mph) placing her 16th on both the individual and combined practice reports.

During the afternoon warm-up Legge was 12th on the practice report with a time of 83.298 seconds (117.078 mph). As has been their practice, the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team went out with the drop of the green flag for qualifying. Legge ran eight laps first stint posting a fast time of 82.902 on her eighth lap. She went out for her second stint with approximately 12 minutes remaining and turned seven more laps, but could not improve her time.

"Qualifying definitely did not go according to plan for the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team and I don't think I have ever been this far off the pace," Legge began. "The car feels okay and that makes it even more frustrating and confusing why we are slow," she noted. "I am thinking positively because it looks like it is going to rain tomorrow, which would be great because I like driving in the rain. But, the other half side of me just wants to get it figured out. My teammate (Oriol Servia) is pretty quick, so we may just put his set up on my car," Legge concluded.

Legge, a rookie, is looking for a strong showing here in Montreal as she attempts to achieve her goals of finishing in the top-10 in the points race and capturing the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year Award. She will be making her 11th career Champ Car start and first at Montreal tomorrow although she did compete there last year in the Atlantic Championships qualifying fourth and finishing fourth. The 25-year-old native of Great Britain has qualified in the top-10 once, a career high eighth in Milwaukee, however it has been in the races where she has shown the talented and determination that led to her promotion to Champ Cars after just one season in the Atlantic Championship Series. Legge has earned four top-10 finishes in her first 10 Champ Car races. She placed a season, and career, high sixth at Milwaukee, eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach eighth in Cleveland and ninth two weeks ago in Denver. The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana is third in laps completed (946) and ninth in laps led with 12. Legge is 14th in the championship standings with 109 points, 31 points out of 10th place, and trails Will Power by 37 and Dan Clarke by 15 in the rookie race.

PKV Racing will be making its sixth and seventh start and contesting its fourth race in Montreal. The team has now qualified in the top-10 three times with Servia's fifth place starting position taking team honors (da Matta, eighth, Vasser, ninth last year). They have finished in the top-10 in all five previous starts with a best showing of sixth by da Matta again last year.

-credit: www.pkvracing.com

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Oriol Servia , Gilles Villeneuve , Katherine Legge , Daniel Clarke , Cristiano da Matta