Oriol Servia paid tribute to PKV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser for keep him in contention for a podium finish at the final race of the Champ Car World Series in Mexico City on Sunday, after he stalled at the start and dropped to the back of the field.

The Spaniard was one of three drivers to lose the engine on his car as the lights went out - along with Nelson Philippe and Alex Tagliani - but, unlike his rivals, was able to battle back through the field, running marginally out of sequence after a lap two fuel stop, and be back in the top five at the final caution.

When the race went green again, Servia drafted former Forsythe Racing team-mate Paul Tracy as the pair passed Simon Pagenaud into turn one, and then surprised the Canadian by out-braking him into turn four on the same lap. Next time around, and with plenty of power-to-pass in the tank, the Catalan caught and passed Graham Rahal, moving himself up into third spot behind the race's two dominant figures, Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power.

"Nothing comes easy for me," he smiled, recalling the start, "We were there and it wouldn't go in gear. It stayed in neutral, neutral, neutral and, when it finally went in gear, the engine died - even before I tried to clutch it.

"So it was a little bit of a bad start, but Jimmy came on the radio and said 'listen, these are longer races than what we had over the weekend', and he was there every lap with me, pushing me, was telling me where everybody else was.

"At the last call, we were both talking about the blacks or reds [tyres] before we both decided reds - and it was the right call. Obviously, we were able to pass Paul and Pagenaud in the last three laps, and it was fantastic. The tyres were great. Paul was on reds also, but I had him a little bit surprised in turn four, and it worked out well. It just feels good when you're able to work together as a team and you're able to support each other like that."

Having missed the opening round in Las Vegas after failing to land a ride for the season, Servia subbed for and then partnered Tracy at Forsythe for much of the season, before being dropped to make way for Mexican David Martinez at the last two rounds. A late return to PKV allowed him to complete the year, however, with provisional pole in Surfers Paradise and third - from fourth on the grid in Mexico - leading to sixth in the final standings.

Despite the performances, next season appears to be as uncertain as this, however.

"I think, for once, I would like some consistency," Servia admitted, "I've been in three strong teams in the series and, at this point, I feel going back with any of the three would be really strong. We would like to work on something that would make us contenders to go for the championship, and I think that that would be Forsythe, PKV or Newman/Haas.

"I think the three are options for me, and I'm hoping one of the three will happen. I'm sure any of the three is going to be a contender, so I'm very excited about what the future holds for me for next year."

Should he wind up at NHLR, Servia would slot into the seat that has taken Bourdais to four straight titles, and he had nothing but praise for the F1-bound Frenchman.

"Well, there's not much to say about his record," he smiled, "I was lucky to be his team-mate. When you race for another team, you look at Sebastien and you always think 'he's on the best team and Newman/Haas are so much better'. Fortunately or unfortunately, I loved being his team-mate and see how much it takes.

"The team is great, obviously, but he definitely drives to the limit every second he's out there. I learned a lot from him, and I think I became a better driver when I was his team-mate. I feel he's the fastest guy out there, and I think he's going to show F1 the level that we have here. He's going to do a great job there."



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