Oriol Servia lands part-time ride with Rahal in 2nd IndyCar entry
Oriol Servia, of Spain, leads JR Hildebrand through the first turn during the final practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Friday, May 24, 2013. (AP/Tom Strattman)
Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, March 5, 2014 9:34AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 10:28AM EST
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will field a second IndyCar entry for Oriol Servia this season in at least four races, more if sponsorship can be secured.
Servia is currently scheduled to compete at Long Beach, Barber, the inaugural road course race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 in a deal announced Wednesday.
The Rahal organization last month finished a drawn-out process to secure sponsorship from the National Guard for Graham Rahal's car. Team owner Bobby Rahal has insisted he would only field two cars if it would strengthen the organization, and Graham Rahal said he told his dad he didn't want to "rob Peter to pay Paul" just to have a teammate.
But in Servia, the organization gets a veteran driver who was briefly teammates with Graham Rahal at Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing in 2009. Servia also ran the Indy 500 that season for Bobby Rahal.
"We have had the pleasure of working with Oriol before and are looking forward to his return," Bobby Rahal said. "I have always respected his ability to develop the race car and be a productive member of the team, so when it came time to consider the possibility of a second entry, he was right at the top of the list. We are happy to have him back and look forward to having him help the team progress toward the front."
A native of Pals, Spain, Servia has made 191 starts in CART, Champ Car and the IndyCar Series since 2000. He won at Montreal in 2005, has 19 career podium finishes and was fourth in the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
His Panther DRR team shut down after last year's Indy 500, and he ran seven of the final 14 races for Panther Racing.
"Continuity is a very important part of success in any racing team," said Servia. "By my moving to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, this happens at many different levels. On the team side, in 2009 we did the 500 together as a one-off race. We were running very strong until we had a fuel pump fail on us, but that one race left us with a sensation that we could do great things together. That same year I did a short stint at Newman/Haas/Lanigan where my teammate was Graham, and that also started a great chemistry between us that translated to results on track."
Servia will participate in the IndyCar Series open test at Barber in two weeks.
"There are enough synergies within the team that make me feel positive, that even if we may be starting a little late, we will hit the road running," he said.