CHAMPCAR/CART: San Jose: PKV Racing Friday report



SAN JOSE, CA -- FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2006 -- Round #9 -- 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- PKV Racing's Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge provisionally qualified sixth and 14th for Sunday's Canary Foundation Grand Prix of San Jose presented by Taylor Woodrow.

Servia, #6 Gulfsteam -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, ran a fast time of 50.248 seconds on the new and improved 1.5-mile, seven turn temporary downtown street circuit, but later had that time taken away because he passed the pit lane entrance after completing his 15 allotted qualifying laps (the time would have placed him fourth on the provisional grid). Servia therefore qualified with a time of 50.388 seconds (103.096 mph). Legge's time in the #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone entry, came in at 51.329 seconds (101.206 mph).

In morning practice, Servia, who started second and finished third at the inaugural San Jose Grand Prix, continued his mastery of the circuit by notching the third fastest time of the session running a quick lap of 51.027 seconds (10.805 mph). During the pre-qualifying practice/warm-up, Servia ran only three laps clocking in at 53.590 seconds (96.936 mph), which put him 14th on the individual report, but left him third on the combined practice report based on his morning time. In qualifying, the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing crew waited until there were just under 18 minutes remaining in the 30-minute qualifying session, thus avoiding the first red flag, before going out for their first stint. Servia ran eight laps during the stint with the "black" primary tire. His fast lap came on lap eight and clocked in at 50.752 seconds placing him sixth on the speed charts. Servia's second stint started immediately followed the second red flag of the session and began with 5:45 remaining in the session. He ran seven laps during the stint with his quick time coming on his final lap, the 15th overall. Unfortunately, Servia accidentally drove past the entrance to pit lane and even though he stop, spun around and enter pit lane, Champ Car officials assessed a penalty thus taking away his fastest lap.

"Another qualifying session in the top-five for the Gulfstream -- PKV Racing team, just .1 off pole position and we did that on the black tires which are a little slower than the alternate red tires. We have a good starting point," Servia said. "We just have to keep working and getting closer to the front--keep our heads down--keep doing what we are doing and we are going to be satisfied with the result by the end of the weekend," he noted. Commenting on the penalty, Servia said, "It doesn't matter."

Regarding the improvements to the San Jose Grand Prix temporary downtown street circuit, Servia said, "It is like we are going to a new race. The track this year has nothing to do with last year. It is so much better. I saw Don Listwin (race owner) yesterday and told him I didn't see how it was going to be that much better. I thought it would be the same as last year. Now I have to completely take back everything I said. The work the San Jose Grand Prix has done is great. The track is so smooth and they really have done a great job. It is a proper race track, the drivers are going to have fun racing on it and the fans are going to have a lot of fun watching us race. It is a proper race track and I think we are going to be coming back to San Jose for many years."

Servia, who is contesting his second Champ Car race in Edmonton and ninth for PKV Racing has finished in the top-10 in five of the eight races this year including the team's only, podium showing of the season a third place performance in Cleveland. In addition to the podium, he finished fourth last weekend in Edmonton, eighth in Monterrey, fifth in Milwaukee, and 10th in Portland. The 32-year-old Catalan has qualified in the top-10 seven times in eight attempts with three top-five starting positions, all in the last three races. He qualified a season high fourth in Cleveland; fifth twice, Edmonton and Toronto; seventh twice, Milwaukee and Monterrey, Mexico and eighth twice, Long Beach and Houston. After starting the season last in the points, when he was the innocent victim of a first lap incident at the season opener in Long Beach, Servia had moved into the top-10 in the standings following a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes. However, after the streak was snapped in Toronto when he was knocked out of the race by Nelson Phillipe, Servia came into Edmonton sitting just outside the top-10 in 11th. He currently sits a season high eighth in the championship race with 118 points.

Servia, who is in his seventh season, will be making his 107th career Champ Car start this weekendy. He has earned 56 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 ended the morning practice 14th on the speed charts with a time of 51.853 seconds (100.1834 mph). During the afternoon warm-up, Legge, like her teammate ran only three laps posting a time of 52.786 seconds (98.4123 mph) placing 13th on the individual report and leaving her 14th on the combined report based on her morning time. In qualifying, the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team used a different strategy then their teammate heading out for the first stint on the drop of the green flag. Legge ran seven laps during her first run completing them just as the first red flag flew. Her fast time of the segment came on the seventh lap and clocked in at 51.639 seconds placing her fourth on the speed charts at the time. Legge went back on track with 13 minutes remaining and notched her fast lap of qualifying on the fifth lap of the stint and 12th overall. Unfortunately, she still had three more laps to go, but got caught by the second red flag. Legge did eventually run the final three laps, but there were not enough to get back up to speed.

"Obviously, qualifying did not go the way the Bell Micro -- PKV Racing team wanted," Legge said. "I had a good first stint, but on the second stint we got caught with a red flag. Overall, I think the car is good and Oriol (teammate Oriol Servia) had a good qualifying session, so we know we are headed in the right direction with the setup," she noted. ?The track is also vastly improved. The San Jose Grand Prix officials have done a fantastic job with the circuit. The Bell Micro -- PKV Racing just needs to go out tomorrow and have a good qualifying session," Legge concluded.

Legge, a rookie, will be making her ninth Champ Car start for PKV Racing and first at San Jose although she did compete here last year in the Atlantic Championships qualifying fourth and winning the race. The native of Great Britain has earned three top-10 finishes in her first eight Champ Car races, placing a season, and career, high sixth at Milwaukee, eighth in her Champ Car debut at Long Beach and eighth in Cleveland. She was 13th at Portland and here in Edmonton and 14th at Houston, Monterrey and Toronto (her only DNF of the season). Legge has qualified in the top-10 once, a career high eighth on the oval in Milwaukee, in eight attempts. She qualified a road/street course best 14th at Cleveland; 15th three times, Houston, Portland and Edmonton and 17th twice, Long Beach and Monterrey, Mexico. The resident of Indianapolis, Indiana is 14th in the championship standings with 87 points and third in the in the Roshfrans Champ Car rookie of the year race (trails Will Power by 17 points and Dan Clarke by six).

PKV Racing will be making its third and fourth starts in two races this weekend in San Jose. The team has qualified in the top-10 once when Jimmy Vasser started 10th last year. Their best finish is 10th by Cristiano da Matta (Jimmy Vasser.was 11th).

There will be a practice session tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. followed by final qualifying at 2:00

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Oriol Servia , Katherine Legge , Will Power , Daniel Clarke , Cristiano da Matta , Nelson Philppe