Detroit Dorricott race notes

DORRICOTT RACING SHOWS WELL AT DETROIT; MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR SEASON'S SECOND HALF SONOMA, Calif. (June 9) - For a weekend in which the end results didn't necessarily illustrate the overall success of Dorricott Racing's ensemble cast, ...

DORRICOTT RACING SHOWS WELL AT DETROIT; MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR SEASON'S SECOND HALF

SONOMA, Calif. (June 9) - For a weekend in which the end results didn't necessarily illustrate the overall success of Dorricott Racing's ensemble cast, drivers Oriol Servia, of Pals, Catalonia, Spain, and Philipp Peter, of Monte Carlo, Monaco, each ran championship caliber races analogous to a "Tale of Two Cities" at the Detroit News 75 in round six of the 14-race PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship, Sunday, June 7.

A number of twists in fate could have propelled Peter or Servia into the podium eye, but much was decided before much could happen when Naoki Hattori lost control exiting turn three and spun to a stop against the inside wall on the opening lap. The rest of the field behind him except for Peter safely passed Hattori, who started fifth. Traffic forced Peter to the inside, who literally became wedged between Hattori's car and the wall. By the time Peter could resume the race, he had fallen from his eighth place starting position to dead last in 22nd. Servia, however, was able to avoid Hattori's accident and improved from 10th at the start to eighth entering lap two.

Intelligent, fast driving best illustrated Peter for the remainder of the race as he craftily began an assault through the field that was unparalleled in Indy Lights to this point of the season.

By the conclusion of lap two, Peter had moved past Rodolfo Lavin and Clint Mears for 20th. A three-car accident on lap three between Luiz Garcia, Jr., Shigeaki Hattori, and Sergio Paese aided Peter with three more positions before a yellow flag was thrown, pushing him into 17th.

The race resumed on lap eight with Airton Dare jumping to a sizeable lead over Tony Renna. Servia gained ground on the re-start when Guy Smith's wider-than-desired exit of turn three cost him six positions but moved Servia to seventh place. Peter remained 16th.

Servia passed Brian Cunningham on lap nine to move into sixth place while Renna was issued a "stop-and-go" penalty for jumping the race start.

Peter energized on lap 10 when he moved into 15th, and again on lap 11 when he passed Jorge Goeters for 14th place. Lap 20 witnessed Peter successfully passing Andy Boss for 13th. Two laps later, Peter scooted past Paul Morris for 12th.

Servia found himself comfortably ahead of his nearest challenger, but too far behind the leaders to be a top-five threat. Peter, meanwhile, continued on a torrid pace through the field and passed Derek Higgins on lap 25 for 11th. On lap 28, Peter slipped past Mike Borkowski for 10th place before time exacted its toll and the 32-lap race was checkered.

Peter's 12-position recovery through the field after falling into last place propelled him back into the lead for the Indy Lights Rookie-of-the-Year title with 37 points - one better than Higgins - and seventh place overall in the Indy Lights championship.

"I'm pleased from the point of view of the car's behavior and that I ran a good race," said Peter. "The crew and I made the right decision to run with a low downforce. Unfortunately, the result didn't show how good our choice was. It's disappointing that I was caught behind Hattori on the first lap and dropped to last, but then again it was a fun race to drive. Unfortunately, it didn't last another 10 laps or else I may have caught the top-five. This race proved the team is doing a great job but we just didn't catch a break."

Servia's sixth place showing improved him to 14th in the title chase with 20 points. Race runner-up Cristiano da Matta remained the Indy Lights championship leader with 92 points.

"I'm so happy," said Servia. "After starting a couple races in the front rows (Nazareth [2] and Milwaukee [3]) but not scoring any points, it feels great to come away with a solid finish. The car ran well and I drove a mistake-free race. My lap times were consistent but near the end, I relaxed a bit because I didn't have anyone close behind or in front of me."

Round seven of the 1998 PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be Sunday, June 21, at Portland International Raceway, Portland, Oregon.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Guy Smith , Shigeaki Hattori , Airton Daré , Oriol Servia , Derek Higgins , Rodolfo Lavin , Tony Renna , Brian Cunningham , Naoki Hattori , Mike Borkowski , Paul Morris , Jorge Goeters , Cristiano da Matta