Disappointing day for Panther and Servia in Sonoma

Servia qualified 20th for today's race, but due to two cars in front of him incurring a 10 grid spot penalty for an unapproved engine change, Oriol started the race 18th. He was in Group 2 for Saturday's qualifying session. Unfortunately he missed a spot in the Fast 12 by one tenth of a second. He clocked the 20th fastest time of 1:18.9672 (108.729 mph).

Oriol got a good start and gained two positions on the first lap going from P18 to P16.

On Lap 15, Servia came into the pits for his first stop, receiving a full fill of fuel, a turn of front wing and switched from the Firestone Firehawk Primary (black-sidewall) tires to a set of "sticker" Firestone Firehawk Alternate (red-sidewall) tires. He filtered out to P22, but once all of the stops were done he went up to P17.

Things were going smoothly until Lap 34 when James Hinchcliffe broke too early, which damaged Oriol's front wing. Fortunately, he was able to make his pit window. Servia came in on Lap 39 to replace the front wing, receive a full fill of fuel and switch from the Firestone Firehawk Alternate (red-sidewall) tires to the Firestone Firehawk Primary (black-sidewall) tires. He came into the pits in 15th position but would drop back to P22 as a result.

Oriol Servia, Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet
Oriol Servia, Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Jeff Davidson

Servia came in for his last pit stop on Lap 63 to receive a full fill of fuel, a turn of front wing and to switch from the Firestone Firehawk Primary (black-sidewall) tires to a set of "sticker" Firestone Firehawk Alternate (red-sidewall) tires. He was P17 when he came in.

On Lap 74 there was a full course caution for contact between Josef Newgarden and Sebastien Bourdais. The restart of was on Lap 74 and Oriol started in 15th position. Another yellow came out on Lap 74 and the restart was on Lap 76.

Unfortunately on Lap 78, Oriol was battling for position and was P14 at the time, but made contact with Mike Conway and had to serve a drive thru penalty for avoidable contact on Lap 81. He finished the race one lap down and in 19th position.

During Saturday morning's practice session Oriol came into the pits with around six minutes left of practice complaining of a tire going down. It ended up being a monoball that failed on the left front upper wishbone that had to be replaced. He was 24th quickest.

TranSystems was the primary livery on the No. 22 machine this weekend. TranSystems is a global engineering firm focused on delivering solutions across the entire transportation world. To achieve this, TranSystems consulting services span all modes, including architectural, engineering and planning, management and supply chain, transportation security and transportation real estate consulting services.

The No. 22 machine will sport a new and improved look for this weekend's race. The TranSystems primary will incorporate Servia's helmet design with the self-portrait of Dali on the side of the car. Also, the Michael Mondavi Family Estate will be have associate partnership with Panther DRR for this weekend's event. The Mondavi logo will be incorporated into the new TranSystems paint scheme.

This weekend marked Servia's 4th start at Infineon Raceway. Last year he started 18th and finished 11th. In 2010, he started 17th and finished 6th. His first start at the track was in 2008 where he started 6th and finished 15th.

In eight races, Servia has gained a total of 98 positions (7 positions in St. Pete to finish 16th, 13 positions in Barber to finish 13th, 7 positions in Long Beach to finish 16th, 12 positions in Brazil to finish 11th, 23 positions in Indianapolis to finish 4th, 11 positions in Detroit to finish 5th, 16 positions in Milwaukee to finish 4th and 9 positions in Toronto to finish 5th).

Since making the switch to Chevy power, Panther DRR and Oriol Servia have earned four top-five results in nine races, tying with a season best of fourth place at the Indianapolis 500 and in Detroit.

Last year Oriol finished fourth in IZOD IndyCar Series standings....Recorded 11 top-10 finishes, with a best of second at New Hampshire and Baltimore....Among three drivers to be running at the finish in all 17 races..... Led all drivers in laps completed (2,103 of 2,011)....Oriol was the only driver to finish in the top 10 in first five races of the season.

Oriol Servia, No. 22 Panther DRR, on the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma: "Even when we started at the back we thought that we had a car to move up to the front with strategy, but it just wasn't happening and then we had a couple of incidents. Our first was with Hinchcliffe.

I thought that he was saving fuel or was having some sort of mechanical issue and in Turn 11 he broke very early and I had a problem and locked wheels, but I broke my front wing and I spun him.

That cost us because we had to change the front wing. At the end, Dixon was trying to pass me for three laps and I was braking as late as I could to not get passed and I think Mike Conway hit someone in front so he was a little slow and I hit him in the corner and they gave me the drive thru.

It wasn't our day and it's one of those days it would have been more painful if were battling for the podium, but still I think that we could have managed a top-ten without those two incidents but it wasn't the case. Difficult weekend, but the TranSystems car was really good in the end so I think that we will have good pace in Baltimore."

Source: Panther DRR

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Oriol Servia , Sébastien Bourdais , Mike Conway , James Hinchcliffe , Josef Newgarden
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
Article type Race report
Tags chevrolet, go pro, hinchcliffe, indycar, panther, servia, sonoma, transystems