CHAMPCAR/CART: Toronto: Patrick Racing Friday report

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia fourth on provisional grid for Molson Indy Toronto TORONTO, CANADA - FRIDAY JULY 11, 2003 -- Round ...

Visteon/Patrick Racing's Servia fourth on provisional grid for Molson Indy Toronto

TORONTO, CANADA - FRIDAY JULY 11, 2003 -- Round #10 - 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season -- Visteon/Patrick Racing driver Oriol Servia qualified fourth on the provisional grid for Sunday's Molson Indy Toronto on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada.

With rain threatening throughout the qualifying session Servia ran a fast time of 60.009 seconds (105.284 mph), which put the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing entry, which is powered by Ford/Cosworth and uses a Lola chassis with Bridgestone tires, on the outside of Row #2.

The native of Spain, who will celebrate his 29th birthday on race day, Sunday, July 13, was second on the combined practice report following the two morning practice sessions with a fast lap of 65.329 seconds (96.710 mph). He ran the fast lap in the first of the two 50-sessions on rain tires as light precipitation fell. Prior to the second session there was a heavy rainstorm. With conditions poor and a solid time already in the books the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team decided to sit out the second practice.

In qualifying, Servia sat for the first few minutes of the session as the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team got a read on track conditions. A little over five minutes into the session Servia went out on his first set of tires and quickly moved up the speed charts. On his seventh lap he clocked a time of 60.15 seconds, which put him second on the speed charts. During his eighth lap he was running faster, but made a small mistake and decided to pit. Moments later Paul Tracy, who was sitting on top of the grid, spun and caused a red flag. Under CART rules Tracy's quick lap was scratched putting Servia in the top spot. Tracy regained the pole at the end of his second stint with Bruno Junquiera and Michel Jourdain slotted in second and third. Servia made a valiant effort on his second set of tires improving his time by almost .15 seconds, which put him in fourth. Meanwhile, Junquiera was able to run slightly faster and supplanted Tracy on the pole.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing car felt good right away," Servia said. "We were very quick on the first set of tires. I ran my fast time on the seventh lap and was going .4 faster on my eighth, but I lost it, so I pitted. I thought that we would be as quick on the second set of tires, but we just missed it," he explained. The Visteon/Patrick Racing Team is definitely capable of going faster. We just need to fine tune the car a little and be ready for final qualifying tomorrow," Servia noted. "Overall, I am please because it was very important for the Visteon/Patrick Racing Team to run a good time today. It might rain tomorrow, so we wanted to be in a position to start at the front of the grid," he concluded.

Servia, who is competing in Toronto for the third time in a Champ Car, is trying to put the icing on his birthday cake by earning his first CART career victory this weekend. He has qualified 11th in both his previous races in Toronto with a best finish of 11th. However, the resident of Miami, Florida is having a breakout year in 2003 with Visteon/Patrick Racing. He has set or tied his career high showing at five of the seven tracks CART has raced on in the past, including career best performances in the last four events and a CART career highest finish of second at Milwaukee.

Servia has finished in the top-five four times this year, which is a career high for a single season. He is currently working on streaks that have seen him place in the top-six a CART career high six consecutive times, finish in the top-10 a career high six straight times and score points in a career best seven consecutive contests. Servia has also qualified in the top-10 in every race this year. The nine consecutive top-10 starting positions are another CART career high. Servia has finished in the points in eight of the nine events this year and is currently sixth in the championship standings with 66 points.

Servia, who is in his fourth season, will be making his 63rd career CART start and 20th for Visteon/Patrick Racing this weekend. In 62 CART career events he has earned 29 top-ten finishes including ten top-five showings with two podium performances. In his 19 starts with Visteon/Patrick Racing, 10 in 2002 and nine this year, Servia has finished in the points 13 times with ten top-10 finishes including six top-five showings and one podium (Milwaukee).

Patrick Racing will be making their 31st start at Toronto. In 20 previous appearances in Toronto the team has qualified in the top-10 a total of 13 times with seven top-five starts and two poles (Emerson Fittipaldi - 1986 and 1989). They have finished in the top-10 a total of 12 times including six top five showings with one victory (Fittipaldi - 1987).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Oriol Servia , Emerson Fittipaldi , Michel Jourdain