Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – St. Petersburg, Fla.
RACE NOTES/QUOTES – Sunday, March 27, 2011
POLE: Will Power 1:01.9625 104.579 mph (Round 3 time)
15th: Oriol Servia 1:03.2434 102.461 mph (Round 1 time)
TELEMUNDO DRIVER ORIOL SERVIA FINISHED NINTH IN THE HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG
Oriol Servia, No. 02 Telemundo Newman/Haas Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “I saw a mega-pile up of cars in front of me and thought I was fine but then I had a car on each side of me and got boxed in. Then I came to Briscoe who was stopped in front of me so I had to stop. The car wouldn’t go in reverse easily to get going again and we lost some time. I had to use it two times and both times it wouldn’t go into reverse. The car was fine, no damage. But then when I was passing Briscoe, who was a lap down at that point and we had already almost crashed in Turn 2, cut my tire. After almost crashing in Turn 2 we were side-by-side in Turns 4 and 5 and my rear tire and his front wing made contact and it punctured my tire. Earlier when I came in, I saw firesuits that were white like ours but they were the firesuits of car 18 and, like a rookie, I stopped in the wrong pits. I have never done that before. I thought I was in the right pits until I saw the number 18. It wasn’t a great beginning of the race but it was such a mess overall that it ended up not costing us that much. We stayed out and did what we could to improve the car and get more experience. We didn’t have the pace to contend in the front but we focused on getting as many positions and points as we could and learn for the next one.
“The two-wide restarts were not a problem for me. Its just that the two-wide restarts at this track are tricky because the inside line here is so dirty because this is an airport, there is paint, there is oil and that is why we had so many problems. If you look at the replay, it wasn’t just the restarts, it was the start itself too and we always start two-wide. It’s was just that the inside line here is one of the dirtiest of the season. It won’t be the case at Barber.”
FAST FACTS: Was his third race here and first since 2008. He started 15th and was caught behind a stopped car in the opening-lap, multi-car accident. He dropped a few places and ultimately finished on the lead lap in ninth place…Competed in the 2003 Champ Car race here where he started ninth and finished 12th for Visteon/Patrick Racing. Competed here in 2008 for KV Racing where he started and finished seventh…Servia tested with the team in Sebring for two days in December 2010. Prior to that his previous time behind the wheel of an Indy car was also with NHR at the 2009 race in Japan where he finished fourth. He set the fifth fastest overall time at the two day INDYCAR open test at Barber on March 14-15, 2010…Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 15 starts for NHR which include his first Indy car win (Montreal 2005) and pole (Surfers Paradise, Australia 2005) as well as a total of seven top-three, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 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 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi.
NEXT UP: The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Round 2 of the IZOD IndyCar Series season, will take place April 8-10.