CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Series Friday qualifying report

ORIOL SERVIA GRABS PROVISIONAL POLE WITH LAST LAP DASH Spaniard steals pole away from home town favorite Will Power by 3 hundredths of a second SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA (October 19, 2007) -- Oriol Servia ( ...

Spaniard steals pole away from home town favorite Will Power by 3 hundredths of a second

SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA (October 19, 2007) -- Oriol Servia (#22 Pay By Touch Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) may have changed teams but he hasn't changed his ways. The Spaniard didn't waste any time getting readjusted to his PKV Racing team as he claimed the provisional pole in today's first round of qualifying, guaranteeing himself a front row starting position in Sunday's Lexmark Indy 300.

Servia was making his return with the Indianapolis-based team for who he drove in 2006. Getting reacquainted with the team didn't seem to pose a problem for the veteran as he was quick right out of the box registering the second quickest time in the morning practice session. When it came time to qualify, Servia proved that the last lap is when it really counts as his lap of 1 minute 30.862 seconds was good enough to edge local favorite Will Power (#5 Aussie Vineyards Coworth/DP01/Bridgestone) in the dying moments of provisional qualifying.

The veteran may have been the quickest in the end, but when qualifying got under way it didn't look like he would be the one atop the time sheets at the end of the day. Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald's Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), Power and Justin Wilson (#9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) were exchanging the top spot until Bourdais made contact with the wall in Turn 1, for a third time in five years.

Bourdais, who was second at that time behind Power, lost his fastest lap for causing a red flag and fell to seventh. The red flag caused by the Frenchman's incident was the first of two that disrupted the session. Many drivers were on their 'quick lap' when the final red flag flew for Alex Tagliani's (#8 PBD Equities Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) spin coming out of Turn 1.

The stoppage sent everybody into the pits for final adjustments. The green flag flew again with about two minutes to go giving everyone enough time to complete one final lap. While a good number of the drivers improved their time, it was Servia that went the quickest, stealing the provisional pole position away from Power who had stopped the clock at 1 minute 30.895 seconds. The Australian was also pushing hard on his final lap but traffic cost him a few tenths which was just enough to keep him in second. Wilson finished third with Paul Tracy (#3 Indeck Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) fourth.

It was an up and down day for the rookie field who, all but Simon Pagenaud (#15 Aussie Vineyards Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), found themselves at the bottom part of the timing sheet in the morning practice session. However, Neel Jani (#21 Red Bull/Gulfstream Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) and Robert Doornbos (#14 Minardi Team USA Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) crept into the top half with the fifth and sixth times respectively in provisional qualifying. Bruno Junqueira (#19 Sonny's Bar-B-Q Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) was seventh, Bourdais ended up eighth and Pagenaud ninth. Nelson Philippe (#34 Juniper Soul Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone), who is making his return with Conquest Racing this weekend, rounded out the top-ten.


Oriol Servia: "I am really happy to be on pole, really happy to give a good result to PKV, after the season I have had, I am very happy how it has turned out in the end. It's a great start for the weekend, I thought the car was already good in the morning but it was all fine, it was all about putting the lap together and there was a lot of drama everywhere. There was a red flag every time I was out there so I couldn't do a lap. It must have been the most drama in a qualifying, it was like a one lap shoot out in the end for everybody and we were just able to do a fast lap because the car was good. We need to finish like this on Sunday afternoon, I have been on pole before and I know it all counts on the last lap so that is what I am going to be working on. I would like to thank Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and Mark Johnson for having the faith and believing in me for this race, and of course the crew for all their hard work. We couldn't have a better chance going in to the start of this weekend."

Will Power: "Unfortunately we were in a pretty bad pit position so we had a lot of cars in front. We decided to wait. My last lap, I still got traffic. I was surprised that Oriol was able to get a time-out there. Yeah, we had the car speed. We were plenty quick enough. We just had a mixed session. The first run, it was a reasonable lap time. Obviously on my last lap of that run, I was a 10th up. So, yeah, nothing we can do about it. We'll come back tomorrow and have a shot at pole."

Justin Wilson: "This morning went very well. The #9 CDW car was working good. I was feeling very comfortable. The session right before qualifying, we went out and did a time that came pretty easily, so I was very confident. When it came down to the real deal in qualifying, I just wasn't feeling quite as good. We couldn't get into a rhythm. It's the same routine. You just need to get a good clean run on the first one and you'll feel much better. That didn't happen. And then the second one, it was crazy for everyone. You know, disappointed we didn't get pole, but pleased with the performance so far today. We've got chances to do it again tomorrow."

Sebastien Bourdais: I'm feeling good, no problems. Just seems like it's my corner over there. I've crashed three times already in five years. Kind of getting used to it. Actually the less amount of walking you can make when you crash a car, so it's not that bad. No, seriously, I feel bad for the guys. The McDonald's car was pretty good. It's just unfortunate. It's pretty hard in the chicane. Just got the tire on the left side and it grabbed the whole suspension and that was that. We'll give it another try. At least Justin didn't get the pole point. You know, congrats to Oriol. Give it another shot tomorrow."

-credit: ccws

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Sébastien Bourdais , Robert Doornbos , Nelson Philippe , Neel Jani , Will Power , Kevin Kalkhoven
Teams Conquest Racing