Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma – Infineon Raceway
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, August 28, 2011
SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE CLOSED ON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR LEAD WITH SEVENTH IN THE INDY GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA; TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA 11TH
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "We made our day difficult starting at the back but I am very happy that the Telemundo car was the best it's been all weekend. We definitely had a great pace especially in the middle of the race. Bruno (Couprie, race engineer) was telling me that we were one of the fastest cars in the field and the car felt that way so I am happy we improved. It would have been nice to do it in qualifying and make our day easier but we did the best we could. To finish eleventh was decent and we got decent points and are still fourth and are looking forward to Baltimore."
FAST FACTS: Will be his be his third race here. He started 15th and finished 8th here in 2008 with KV. A broken fuel pump in the only pre-qualifying practice with NHR at Sonoma in 2009 led to a 17th place start but he stretched his fuel longer than many and finished sixth after an exciting late race duel with Justin Wilson, whom he held off despite the Brit being on the faster red "alternate" Firestone's while he was on the standard tire...Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 28 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of NINE top-three finishes. In 2005, Servia replaced NHR driver Bruno Junqueira, who suffered a season-ending injury at the Indy 500 on May 29, and then went on to finish second to teammate Sebastien Bourdais in the point standings after 11/13 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi...Best start and finish of the season are 2nd place – both in New Hampshire...Is FOURTH in series point standings with 327.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It was a pretty decent effort today. On the first stint we were sort of the best of the rest. We gapped Conway quite well but we certainly lost touch with the top-five guys. It was on the last four or five laps of that stint that the tires started to really fall off so we lost some time there. Pantano had a really good strategy starting on the primary Firestone's and switching to the alternates and he got us on the exit of the pit cycle. From there we were just sort of running the pace and had some issues with some lapped cars at certain parts and that lost us some time. At the end of the day it didn't really matter because of the late caution. That was a crazy, crazy five laps because when these tires heat cycle they lose a lot of grip, there are a lot of marbles everywhere and there were lapped cars in the mix. We were racing Sebastien and Graham and we lost a place there on that so that was too bad. It's unfortunate that the lapped cars weren't moved to the back with less than 10 laps to go which is usually the rule. At the end of the day the last couple of laps were crazy but fun. It was fun racing with Graham there at the end. I want to give a huge thanks to the team because we didn't start this weekend off perfectly well and to have a top six qualifying and top-eight finish is something to be pretty happy with."
FAST FACTS: This was his FIRST race in an Indy car here and FIFTH overall at the track. He qualified fourth and finished sixth in the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights (FIL) race here. In 2010 he started and finish third in the FIL event. He competed in the Star Mazda series here in 2005 and earned his first series pole, podium and win in the double-header event ...Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after three wins and four poles. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races... His highest road/street course start of the season is seventh at Mid-Ohio and highest road/street finish of fourth at Long Beach. Is ranked 14th with a total of 243 points and is THREE behind Rookie of the Year leader Hildebrand (246) after 13 of 14 events so far this season (did not compete in St. Pete.
NEXT UP... The inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix will take place next Sunday, September 4.