After talking to Oriol Servia this week, he has come off as a very convincing young man. He is in his fifth year driving in the IndyCar series and he feels that sometime in 2013 he will stand at the top of the podium as a winner.
Servia pilots the No. 22 green Panther D&R Racing Chevrolet. Two weeks ago he battled hard in the season opener in St. Petersburg. The car had some trouble as he got caught in a multi-car incident in Turn 9 on Lap 27, damaging the front nose and requiring a pit stop for a nose change.
Despite the problem on lap 46, he stayed out on the track during a full-course caution to vault from 17th place to take over the race lead. He held that lead until the 61st lap when he went in for a scheduled pit stop.
When Servia came in for a routine stop for fuel and tires, something bad happened. The car would not go into gear leaving the pit box. An issue with the clutch CCU was resolved, and the team would go on to take the checkered flag after completing 104 of 110 laps on the street course in St. Pete with a 17th overall finish.
So a couple of weeks ago in St.Petersburg things did not go as planned for the likable Spaniard. But after talking to Servia, he feels that a win was getting closer for him and the Panther team.
B/R: Tell me about your car and your team?
Servia: I can't tell you how hard we worked over the offseason on our car, and in the opener in St. Petersburg we saw some outstanding results. We led the race for nearly 20 laps holding off the likes of [Helio] Castroneves, [Will] Power and the eventual winner [James] Hinchcliffe. But then we had a bit of bad luck in the pits and we finished out of the top 10. We proved that we are a car that will be a contender and there is a long way to go before the season is over, so our team will be ready for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Alabama.
B/R: Do you have a favorite type of track to race on?
Servia: No not really. What makes me so excited about being part of the IndyCar series is that we race on all types of tracks. We run on street courses like St. Pete, Long Beach and Baltimore. We have great road courses like this week in Birmingham and then we have the ovals. So as a driver on the IndyCar series you really are tested like no other race series. I do think everyone would love to win the Indianapolis 500 because it is such an iconic race and I know that it is one I circle on my calendar each year.
B/R: What are your goals for 2013?
Servia: I think that we have a car worthy of challenging for a championship if we get a little luck. There is no question that there is at least 10 to 15 drivers and teams that think the same way that I do. However, when things are as wide open as they are this year when anyone can win each Sunday it does give us all hope. So with hope, a good car, an outstanding team and sponsors we are going to give it a run to finish as high in that top ten as possible in total points at the end of the year. Plus, a win and a few podiums would be nice as well.
*All quotes we obtained firsthand in a phone conversation with Servia arranged this week by IndyCar.