Apr 5, 2012
Heat Index looks at the driver advancing the most positions in each IZOD IndyCar Series race.
Oriol Servia kept his wits and humor during a trying race weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.
After qualifying 26th (last) for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, the driver of the No. 22 Lotus Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car carrying Charter primary sponsorship sliced through 90 laps on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course to a 13th-place finish.
Said Servia over the radio as he crossed the start/finish line for the final time: "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Great job, guys. We will keep getting there."
The 13 positions he advanced were the most by any driver. Second most was eight by race winner Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais (finished ninth) and Dario Franchitti (finished 10th).
Servia had limited track time – seven laps during the initial practice session because of an electrical issue. After two laps during the second session, Servia brought the Lotus-powered car back to pit lane. The team decided to change the 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, which under IZOD IndyCar Series rules was an unapproved change that would result in a 10-spot penalty on the starting grid.
Of course, qualifying 26th made that moot.
"Once again, my team and engineer (Yves Touron) rose up for the battle,” said Servia, who in 2011 started sixth and finished fifth. “We didn't have much practice time and we were guessing on the setup. They came up with a great one for the race and I'm very happy. We were as good as anyone in the corners for sure, and that's what helped me move to the front.
“We had good lap speed, a good strategy, pitted early and put good laps together and passed a couple of cars, which is an odyssey with the lack of speed that we have on a straight line. I know it's 13th place, but it feels like a podium."