Newsstand » HINCHCLIFFE NINTH AS HIGHEST ROOKIE
TELEMUNDO DRIVER SERVIA MOVED TO THIRD IN POINTS WITH FIFTH PLACE IN THE POSTPONED ITAIPAVA SAO PAULO INDY 300 NESTLE; SPROTT DRIVER HINCHCLIFFE NINTH AS HIGHEST ROOKIE
Oriol Servia, No. 2 Telemundo Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “It was impossible to race yesterday so it was the only decision they could make. Although we all thought there would be too much rain to race today too, the organizers were right to push it because we were able to race and put a show on for the fans. I think it was a good show; it was difficult like every rain race. There were a couple of times when the visibility was really bad. When we started luckily there was the first yellow because it came out when we were on the back straight and that was where the visibility was the worst. Luckily it got better after that.
“We decided to go with the least amount of downforce we had the whole weekend on the Telemundo car because we were hoping the race was going to be dry. We were wrong there but the car was good enough that we were able to stay out of trouble, get by a couple of cars, never get passed, move forward with no mistakes, had good pits stops and finish fifth. We were third on our strategy without the guys that made mistakes and pitted earlier than the rest getting a break with a yellow and finishing ahead of us. That’s the way it goes though and we’re going to be the one who gets the lucky yellow some time. I’m very pleased with the outcome of the weekend, especially with the way it started. I’m very happy to be third in the points and to continue gaining momentum going into Indy – the most important race of the year. The Telemundo team has high hopes.”
FAST FACTS: Was his SECOND Indy car race in Brazil, FIRST at this track and FIRST with NHR here. In 2000 he competed in the CART race in Rio de Janeiro for PPI Motorsports where he started 14 and finished 25th after contact in his rookie season while the team developed the Toyota Indy car engine…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 also tested in the open test at Barber Motorsports Park in March where he was fifth fastest…Servia, a native of Catalonia, Spain, has made 18 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, 12 top-five and 14 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 11/13 events with the team. Servia returned to NHR in 2009 for four races with a season-best finish of fourth at Twin Ring Motegi…Moved from fourth to THIRD in series point standings with 110 and is one of only three drivers to finish in the top-10 in each race so far (also Will Power and Dario Franchitti).
James Hinchcliffe, No. 06 Sprott Dallara/Honda/Firestone: “Yesterday’s decision was the only decision they could make. The conditions were treacherous. Someone was going to get hurt and a lot of equipment was going to get crashed. It was a tough call and I feel bad for all the fans that came out and all the fans watching on TV that hung around during the delay and ultimately didn’t get to see the race. Then it started raining on the pace lap today so that made it an interesting first few corners before everyone dove into the pits for tires. The first stint we really struggled with rear grip for some reason and fell back a couple of places and really didn’t know what we were going to do. We came in for the pit stop and we opted for tires and some guys didn’t and we made the right call. We were a lot more competitive in the second half. It was really about keeping up and even trying to get around Justin there at the end. We got another top-ten and were the top rookie so we are relatively pleased. It was an easy day to make mistakes and a lot of guys did and we came out without any. We would have like to have been higher but at the end of the day we came away with four wheels on the car and a top-ten finish so we can’t be too upset. We have had two good finishes in a row now and the confidence is high for the Sprott team.
“The next one — the Indy 500 — is going to be my first oval in an Indy car and it’s going to be the biggest race of the year so it’s a lot to take in but we are heading there with good momentum. Newman/Haas Racing always has good cars at the Speedway and we have a big Sprott contingent coming down so we’re really excited to host them for a race and hope to give them a great result.”
FAST FACTS: Competed for the first time in the country of Brazil, made his second street course start in an Indy car (Long Beach, Brazil) and third overall in the IZOD IndyCar Series after competing in Barber and Long Beach…Earned a season-high start of eighth place in his debut at Barber and a season-high finish of fourth in Long Beach to date… He tested with NHR for two days at Sebring in December and another two days in January before testing at Barber Motorsports Park March 14-15 where he set the seventh fastest time overall at the test as well as temporarily held the fastest time on Tuesday…Toronto native Hinchcliffe, 24, finished second in the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season standings after wins in Long Beach, Edmonton and Chicagoland and poles in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Watkins Glen and Edmonton. In total he earned eight podium finishes in 13 races… Is 19th place in the point standings with a total of 66 points and closed the gap to Rookie of the Year leader Hildebrand (69) after competing in three of four events so far this season.
NEXT UP: The team hopes to return to the United States tonight and is expected to be able to pick up their racing equipment in Indianapolis on Thursday to begin preparation for the 100th Centennial Indianapolis 500. Rookie Orientation for James Hinchcliffe and others is Thursday, May 12 and will be his first time behind the wheel of an Indy car on an oval. Opening Day is Saturday, May 14, Pole Day is May 21 and the Indy 500 will take place on Sunday, May 29.