CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: PKV Racing preview

SERVIA AND JANI BOTH ATTEMPTING TO MOVE INTO TOP-FIVE IN STANDINGS INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - OCTOBER 16, 2007 - - With just two races remaining in the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, PKV Racing drivers Oriol Servia and Neel Jani will both be...

SERVIA AND JANI BOTH ATTEMPTING TO MOVE INTO TOP-FIVE IN STANDINGS

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - OCTOBER 16, 2007 - - With just two races remaining in the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, PKV Racing drivers Oriol Servia and Neel Jani will both be looking to maximize points at this weekend's Lexmark Indy 300, October 19-21, on the temporary street circuit in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, as they continue their individual battles to finish in the top-five in the championship standings

Servia was signed yesterday to replace Tristan Gommendy, who is unable to compete due to unresolved business issues, and will drive the #22 Pay By Touch PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone entry in Australia. Servia contested 11 of the first 12 races this year for Forsythe Championship Racing and currently sits sixth in the championship standings with 204 points, just five points out of fifth, 34 out of third and 39 out of second. Jani, #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone, has been one of the most competitive drivers in the series since Cleveland finishing in the top-10 in eight consecutive races. He is currently seventh in the championship standings, third in the rookie of the year race, with 203 points (one behind Servia), but just six points out of fifth place, 35 out of third and 40 out of second. With a maximum of a 30 point gain possible in any race, Surfers Paradise is crucial to both drivers hopes of finishing among the leaders in the standings.

Servia, who drove for PKV Racing in 2006, has finished in the top-10 in three of the past four seasons including a career high second in 2005. So far this year he has finished in the top-10 in 10 of his 11 starts with four top-five showings including two podium performances (second at Long Beach and third at San Jose). The 33-year-old from Pals, Catalonia, Spain has been particularly strong on street circuits in 2007 placing fourth at Houston, seventh at Cleveland, tenth at Toronto and sixth in Edmonton to go with the two podiums (he did not compete in Las Vegas). Servia, who qualified in the top-10 in 12 of the 14 races with five top-five starting spots with PKV Racing in 2006, holds the PKV Racing team record for consecutive top-five starting positions (4) and is tied him with Jimmy Vasser and Cristiano da Matta for the most top-10 starting spots in a season. He has qualified in the top-10 five times in 11 races this year including three top-five starting spots, all on street circuits, with a season high of third at Toronto (fourth at San Jose and fifth at Houston). Servia is fourth in laps led (83) and eighth in both laps (876 out of 962) and miles (1889.122 out of 2086.841) completed.

Servia, who unabashedly says that the 2.795-mile, 12-turn, Surfers Paradise downtown street circuit is "my favorite track in the Champ Car series", has qualified and finished in the top-10 three times in seven races. However, the last two years the resident of Miami, Florida has had been impressive at Surfers taking the pole and finishing fifth in 2005 and then qualifying sixth and leading the race in 2006 before a mechanical failure knocked him from the competition.

Jani's streak has given him a legitimate shot at becoming the first PKV Racing driver ever to finish in the top-five in the season ending standings (Vasser finished 6th in 2005). The 23-year-old native of Jens, Switzerland has finished in the top-10 ten times in the 12 races, with four top-five showings and three podium performances. During the eight race stretch, Jani earned all three of his podium finishes, seconds at Toronto and San Jose, where he led his first Champ Car laps and a third in Cleveland. The three podium performances established a single season team record for most by an individual driver and tied the record for the most by the team in a season. In addition to the podiums, the streak includes a fifth in Assen, a sixth in Mont-Tremblant, a ninth at Edmonton, a 10th at Road America and an eighth in Belgium. Jani's other top-10 showings this year are a seventh at Long Beach and a 10th in his Champ Car debut in Las Vegas. At Long Beach, fueling problems, Las Vegas, mechanical failure, Houston, knocked out of the race while running fourth and Road America, sixth when forced to pit for a splash of fuel, Jani was in contention for top-five finishes. Only in Portland, where he finished 12th has he been out of contention.

Jani has qualified in the top-10 a total of 10 times in 12 attempts with a best starting position of fourth at Houston and Assen. His other top-10 starting spots include fifth's in Edmonton and San Jose, sixth in Mont-Tremblant, seventh at Road America, ninths in Las Vegas and Zolder, plus 10ths in Toronto and Portland (11th in Cleveland and Long Beach). Jani is ninth in laps led (30) and third in both laps (923) and miles (2011.839) completed. A veteran of European open wheel racing, Jani, whose father hails from India, has been a member of the Red Bull driver development program since 2005 and was a test driver for the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One Team in 2006.

"The Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing team has improved the car since the beginning of the season and we have had some good results, which have put us in contention for a place in the top-five in the standings," Jani said. "We are not where we want to be, but with good results these last two races we can finish the season on a good note."

credti: pkv racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Neel Jani , Tristan Gommendy , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Toro Rosso