CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: PKV Racing race report



SURFERS PARADISE, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA -- SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2007 -- Round #13 -- 2007 Champ Car World Series season -- PKV Racing finishes in eighth place with Neel Jani, while his team mate Oriol Servia finished 14th today in the Lexmark Indy 300 Champ Car Grand Prix on the 2.795-mile, 12-turn street course in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia.

Jani, #21 Red Bull Gulfstream PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone machine, had a very long day. After gaining 3 places at the start, he was struggling with straight away speed causing him to drop places. A very good pit call by the crew enabled Jani to finish in the top-10, finishing eighth. The 23-year-old native of Jens, Switzerland has now finished in the top-10 11 times in the 13 races, with four top-five showings and three podium performances. Jani's finish today moved him up in the championship standings to sixth, with 218 points, closing the gap to fifth by just two points. He remains third in the Roshfrans Rookie of the Year race with 218 points, two points behind second.

Jani, was in eighth place at the start of the race, pushing his way to fifth by the end of the first lap. However with a lack of straight away speed he soon began to struggle against his competitors and dropped back places. With the way the race was going, the team decided to use the yellow flags to bring him into the pits, keeping the car topped up with fuel in the hope that he would go longer towards the end, needing a shorter last fuel stop. This proved to be a good call by the team, allowing Jani to gain some places and finishing the race in eighth place.

"I think it was the most difficult race this year for me so far," Jani said. "We had a very good call from the team at the end, with not changing tires just taking fuel, it definitely got me the top-10 spot. But otherwise I was struggling with the car quite a lot, I was unable to maintain straight away speed, so other drivers were able to over take me very easily. I had a fantastic start, fifth at the first corner, so I was happy but then throughout the race I had some problems, so eighth is where I started and where I finished, so it's not bad."

Servia, who signed on Wednesday to compete for PKV Racing in Australia, piloted the #22 Pay By Touch PKV Racing Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone car. He drove a very strong race, pushing the car to the limit, but unfortunately a small mistake made it impossible for him to get back into the race. The 33-year-old resident of Miami, Florida currently sits ninth in the championship standings with 212 points, eight points out of fifth, 50 out of third. So far this year he has finished in the top-10 in 10 of his 12 starts with four top-five showings including two podium performances (second at Long Beach and third at San Jose).

Servia, was starting the day on the front row of the grid, his best position this season. He was able to maintain this spot at the start of the race, even posting the fastest time on lap seven. During the race there were a number of small incidents bringing out three yellow flags early on, enabling Servia to come in and pit, change to red tires and get some more fuel. By lap 32, he was still setting the fastest lap and leading the race. He was really liking the car, pushing it to its limit, until a small error caused him to bruise the wall at Turn 2, bending the toe link and sending him back to pit lane and unfortunately despite the quick change, he was three laps down.

"I am just very pleased with the whole weekend performance, I did one little mistake which unfortunately happened in the race and in Surfers Paradise you pay for a little mistake like that." Servia went on to explain that he "didn't think it was that bad but a couple of corners later I realized it was, the toe link had broken so I had to basically stop and lost 3 laps. It was just unfortunate for the whole team because after an excellent performance considering I had just jumped into the car this weekend." Commenting on the team Servia said "the team were really outstanding and I think we all deserved the win that the we were capable of. I am obviously disappointed but when you make a mistake pushing as hard as I was, and the whole team were, you know things can happen, they can happen to the best, you have to play with the limits. It was just encouraging the speed we had all weekend and I found the team after a year much better, in many areas, the way they operated, the way everything worked, definitely PKV is a winning team and have the potential to win a championship and I am just happy I gave them a good weekend."

Jani, who has been one of the top competitors in the series since Cleveland, is on a streak that has given him a legitimate shot at becoming the first PKV Racing driver to finish in the top-five in the season ending standings (Vasser finished 6th in 2005). 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 here in Australia and 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.

Next up for PKV Racing is the last race of the season in Mexico City, Round #14 of the 2007 Champ Car World Series season, it will be televised same day tape delayed on ESPN2 at 5:00 p.m. (ET).

-credit: pkv racing

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia , Neel Jani