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Servia to see out season with Panther

30 August 2013

Spain's Oriol Servia has been confirmed as Panther Racing's driver for the remainder of the 2013 season, beginning with this week's event at Baltimore.

Servia started off the year with Dreyer and Reinbold Racing, but was left without a race seat when that team ceased racing operations after the Indianapolis 500 after failing to attract sufficient sponsorship backing to remain viable.

After missing the Detroit double-header, Servia was back in action with the sister Panther team at Texas and also went on to race with the team at Iowa and Mid-Ohio, alternating in the car with Ryan Briscoe.

Briscoe had the last outing in the car at Sonoma after himself recovering from a facture to the right wrist sustained in Toronto, but is now unavailable for further IZOD IndyCar Series races in 2013 because of his racing commitments in the American Le Mans Series with Level 5 Motorsports.

That leaves Servia back in the car this weekend, at a venue where he's proven particularly effective in the past. In 2011 he was able to move up 12 into the runner-up position at the chequered flag - his best result of the season - and in 2012 he climbed nine positions to again finish in the top ten.

"Oriol's going to run for us for the rest of the year," confirmed Panther Racing managing director Barnes, meaning that as well as Baltimore Servia will be in the car for the double-header in Houston on the weekend of October 5/6 and at the IndyCar season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on October 19.

Next year's driver plans for the National Guard-backed team remain unconfirmed, with Barnes saying that they would be testing some candidates after the end of the season before making any announcements.

Filippi back for Baltimore

Former GP2 star Luca Filippi will get his second race outing in the IZOD IndyCar Series this weekend as he once again takes over the #98 Barracuda Racing/Bryan Herta Autosport car for the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT.

Filippi got his first chance in the car after his maiden outing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at the start of August. A poor qualifying saw him start form the back of the grid for that race, but he was still able to go on and match Helio Castroneves for the most places gained by any driver by the chequered flag.

"We were really fast all weekend and in qualifying I made a mistake that is still hurting a lot,” said Filippi about his début weekend in IndyCar. "At the same time, we had a good performance. I can try to put that mistake behind me. That's why the team is giving me another chance."

Mid-Ohio is relatively similar to the types of permanent tracks Filippi is used to racing on in Europe, but this weekend will see him face an altogether beast as he attempts to master a full-on temporary street circuit, the 2.04-mile 12-turn track in downtown Baltimore.

“The tough thing is Baltimore is a street circuit," he agreed. "I watched [last year's inaugural] race again on YouTube and I'm looking at data and want to get there as ready as I can to perform. It's pretty bumpy but in Europe I had some street course experience so I hope it will help.

“I have a good feeling with the car, which is important," he added. "I really feel confident. I worked well with the engineers."

Filippi's first track session will be at 10.10am local time (3.10pm BST) on Friday morning for the first of three 45-minute practice sessions, with the others following at 2.30pm (7.30pm BST) on Friday afternoon and 9.05am (2.05pm BST) on Saturday morning.

Qualifying at noon (5pm BST) on Saturday will follow the usual IndyCar three-round elimination format with the top 12 fastest drivers progressing to round 2 and then the top half of the field making it through to the Firestone Fast Six pole shootout. A half-hour Sunday morning warm-up at 10.15am (3.15pm BST) precedes the race itself which runs from 2.30pm (7.30pm BST).


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