ORIOL SERVIA SCORES FIRST CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES VICTORY AS LATE-RACE CHARGE EARNS WIN AT MOLSON CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF MONTREAL MONTREAL (August 28, 2005) -- Oriol Servia ( ...
ORIOL SERVIA SCORES FIRST CHAMP CAR WORLD SERIES VICTORY AS LATE-RACE CHARGE EARNS WIN AT MOLSON CHAMP CAR GRAND PRIX OF MONTREAL
MONTREAL (August 28, 2005) -- Oriol Servia (#2 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) made one of the biggest gambles a race-car driver can make when he left a secure ride to take over the seat in the Newman/Haas Racing that came available when Bruno Junqueira was injured in May's Indianapolis 500.
So it was fitting that the young Spaniard saw that gamble pay off Sunday at Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve - which features a large casino on the track grounds -- as Servia used a strong late-race charge to earn the first victory of his Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford career.
Servia saw things turn his way with 13 laps to run in the 79-lap affair, as day-long leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) had problems with a left-rear tire during a pit stop, dropping him out of the lead and back to fourth. Servia quickly took advantage, passing Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) for second and then running down rookie Timo Glock (#8 DHL Global Mail Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) on the day's penultimate trip around the 2.709-mile road course to take his first victory.
Glock appeared to have caught a break when he pitted ahead of the day's first caution, promoting him to the lead when the remainder of the field had to make their final pit stops. Glock fought hard to maintain his lead, keeping Servia and Wilson at bay through the race's final laps as he chased his first victory. He straight-lined the final chicane in staving off Servia's passing attempt on Lap 76, but when he did it again on Servia's subsequent attempt, Champ Car Stewards ordered Glock to cede the position to the Newman/Haas driver, who kept Glock and Wilson in his mirrors to take the win.
Sunday's race behaved itself perfectly through the first 58 laps as Bourdais led wire-to-wire in what had been a caution-free day. Wilson made one serious charge at Bourdais at the end of his first fuel stint, but the series points leader never let him get that close again, building a six-second lead with 20 laps to go as the series points leader appeared to have the field covered.
The Molson Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal then revealed its sinister side on lap 58, starting when Ricardo Sperafico (#11 Sonny's Real Pit BBQ Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) suffered a rear-wing failure at the end of the final straight, sending him into the wall near the entrance to Pit Lane. The wing vaulted high over the trailing car of Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and directly into the path of A.J. Allmendinger (#10 Western Union Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone). The young American, who had run in the top-five all day, hit the wing and cut a front tire, sending him down Pit Lane as the caution flag flew.
The caution period sent everyone save Glock and Allmendinger down Pit Lane when the pits opened, where more problems befell the title hopefuls. Bourdais had his aforementioned tire mounting problem, dropping him two spots in the order, while Tracy had bigger problems. Entering the pits in the fourth spot, the Canadian star missed his entry to his pit stall, came in too close to the wall and bumped one of his crew members. He had to be pushed back and lined up again, costing him nine positions.
Glock and Allmendinger were set to take the restart in the lead, but Allmendinger was sent to the back of the restart line since his trip into the pits with the flat tire came under a closed pit. That ruling moved Wilson into second with Servia in third and Bourdais charging in fourth when the green flag flew on Lap 64. Servia made his pass of Wilson for second and immediately got the chance to climb on Glock's rear wing when the yellow banner flew again on Lap 66 as Rodolfo Lavin (#55 HVM Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) dropped a shock cover directly in the racing line. Glock led on the restart and did yeoman's work in fighting off Servia before the activities on the next-to-last lap. The young German saved a career-best finish when he slotted in ahead of Wilson after allowing Servia's rule-ordered pass, placing second and scoring the first podium finish of his career.
Wilson rounded out the podium for RuSPORT while Bourdais settled for fourth. Wilson earned his second podium finish of the year with the result and his first since his maiden win at Portland, although the Brit does have seven top-five runs this year. Bourdais set the fastest lap of the race and led a race-high 59 laps in widening his margin in the championship chase to 61 points with four races to run. The 2004 series champion finished on the lead lap again and has run all but one of the scheduled laps during the 2005 schedule.
Servia moved up to second in the standings with his win, leapfrogging the star-crossed Tracy who fell to third in the title hunt after his eighth-place finish. Alex Tagliani (#15 Aussie Vineyards Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) rounded out the top five in front of his home crowd while PKV Racing teammates Cristiano da Matta (#21 Bell Micro Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Jimmy Vasser (#12 Gulfstream Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) chased him home, finishing sixth and seventh respectively.
Tracy finished eighth while Allmendinger rebounded from his penalty to take the ninth spot, It was a finish that allowed him to move back into the top five in the season standings however, as he claimed a one-point advantage over Mario Dominguez (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), who finished 10th on Sunday.
Servia became the sixth different winner in the Champ Car World Series this year and joins Wilson as drivers who have gained their first series victories this year. Glock became the 11th different driver to finish on the podium this season and takes a commanding lead in the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year standings, leading by 27 points over Ronnie Bremer (#19 American Medical Response Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone).
Joe Chrnelich, Executive Vice President of Development, Government Affairs and Planning said, "We are very pleased with the progress made across many areas of this year's event in Montreal. Our promoter partner Normand Legault and his team did an excellent job of creating new strategies and value propositions in order to reposition our series in the Montreal marketplace. Although there is plenty of room for growth in the event, we believe things are heading in the right direction and Champ Car will work side by side with our promoter to do just that. Ultimately, I believe the fans attending today will leave feeling that they received great value for their investment, saw a great show and had a fun experience."
QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE FINISHERS
Justin Wilson: "It was a great result for CDW, the RuSPORT team. Very excited to be on the podium again. You know, we've worked hard all weekend to make sure we're competitive. We were right there in every session. Even when we have problems, we can bounce back pretty quick. I've just got to thank the guys. They've worked hard all weekend. Pit stops were fantastic. That last stop when we came out second, it was quite a good move. At the end of the day, I think we did everything that we could have done, and we had a good race car. We got the best result we were capable of."
Timo Glock: "It was a really tough race for me, especially because I had to start from 11th. I used a lot of 'push to pass' at the beginning to get Nelson Philippe and Jimmy Vasser. At the end I had two shots left. When I was leading the race, I saw Oriol behind me. I know he will try to get me because he was second and third so many times and he wants to win. That was clear for me. I mean, it's disappointing. In one way it's disappointing, and on the other way it's a great weekend for us, to be on the podium after all the races without luck."
Oriol Servia: "It feels awesome. It feels awesome. I'm not going to mention how many times I thought I deserve the win, blah, blah, blah, because the list is so long. But it happened today. It happened because Bruno's accident, which is something none of us wanted. But, you know, I was really happy that decided I was the one to go in the car. I know Bruno was really happy they choose me. Since day one, the team has shown great, great support for me, all the guys in the crew, all the owners, and PacifiCare. It just feels extremely good to be able to show them that they did the right choice trusting me. I'm really; really glad I'm able to give them this win. I hope first of many."
Oriol Servia is the first driver since Michael Andretti to lead only the final lap of a Champ Car race. Andretti passed Al Unser Jr. at Road America in '96 to score the win. Servia is just the seventh driver ever to accomplish the feat since Eddie Sachs became the first to do it in 1956.
Sebastien Bourdais became the 22nd driver in series history to lead over 1,000 laps in Champ Car competition when he paced 59 orbits today. His career total is 1,027 laps led, leaving him just one behind Danny Ongais, who sits 21st on the list. He has scored seven consecutive top-five finishes.
Oriol Servia scored his first victory in his 95th career Champ Car start. Amazingly enough, the current Champ Car driver with the highest amount of starts without a victory is third-year driver Rodolfo Lavin, who has 35 series starts. Michel Jourdain Jr. holds the series record for starts before his first win, running 125 races before his 2003 win in Milwaukee.