Graham Rahal says Oriol Servia made a massive contribution to Newman/Haas/Lanigan during his four races with the IndyCar Series team.
The Spaniard returned to NHLR - where he had previously substituted for Bruno Junqueira for part of the 2005 Champ Car season while the Brazilian was injured - when Robert Doornbos left the team for HVM after Edmonton. Servia's deal was on a race-by-race basis, and he will be replaced by Alex Lloyd for the season finale at Homestead next month.
Both Rahal and Servia fought for podium finishes in the last two oval events, finishing third and fourth at Motegi, and the American said the team's improved form owed a lot to Servia's presence.
"You can see it from the results that Oriol Servia's arrival - or return, I guess - to Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has made us a better team," Rahal wrote in his blog for RACER.
"We were very much a one-car team until these last few races. The #06 car has had its best results in the last four weekends and Oriol is a guy who, with all his experience, is just so valuable."
Servia has not had a full-time drive in 2009 having lost his KV Racing seat as the team scaled back to a single car over the winter. He made a one-off appearance with Rahal Letterman Racing at the Indianapolis 500, but was otherwise on the sidelines until his Newman/Haas/Lanigan call-up.
"It's a shame he can't find a ride that's stable," said Rahal. "He brings so much to a team because of his knowledge and the guy has an engineering degree - he's just smart.
"So he was good for us - he helped us out and he's fun. There are a lot more smiles on a lot of people's faces, and it's just a whole different deal than before."