Servia Hit by Niggling Problems

Oriol Servia finds himself mired in an unrepresentative ninth place on the provisional grid after a couple of unfortunate glitches hampered his progress on the opening day of action at the Molson Indy Toronto

A fuel pressure problem manifested itself in the #2 PacifiCare Lola during free practice in the morning, restricting Servia's running and forcing the Newman/Haas mechanics to change the fuel pump over the lunch break.

Then in qualifying the Spaniard looked untypically ill at ease, failing to hook a clean lap together and ending up a full second adrift of teammate Sebastien Bourdais on the time sheets.

Only in the closing stages of the 35-minute session did the team hit upon the (rather straightforward) cause of the problem - a punctured left-rear tyre.

By then they judged it too late to get in a worthwhile lap on new rubber, and instead opted to conserve a set of 'stickers' for the rest of the weekend, mindful that tyre wear is always a race day concern on the abrasive Toronto surface.

"The tyre was punctured early in the session, but we didn't know it," related Servia. "It was weird; I kept locking the right-front [wheel] and I kept adjusting the brake balance and nothing was working. My head was like, 'What's going on here?'

"Now my mind doesn't know how the car would have been, so it's hard to say what changes we need to make to improve the car for tomorrow.

"That's why at the end of the session we almost put on another set of tyres, just to see how the car was - but we only had four minutes left so we decided not to. We'll try again tomorrow and try to put the PacifiCare car up front in qualifying."

Since being drafted into the second Newman/Haas seat in relief of the injured Bruno Junqueira at Milwaukee, Servia has been comprehensively overshadowed by Bourdais in qualifying. However, he has posted a string of impressive race performances - not least last time out at Cleveland, where he set the fastest lap en route to a podium finish.

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