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IndyCar Season Preview: Oriol Servia

Photo credit: Ned Leone

#22 Lotus Cars Dallara-Lotus, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

Born: July 13, 1974

Hometown: Pals, Catalonia

2011 HIGHLIGHTS: Despite two years out of a full-time ride, Servia was the best driver not to be employed by either Chip Ganassi or Roger Penske in 2011. Driving for Newman/Haas Racing, Servia finished fourth in points after a hot start and strong finish to the season.

2011 LOWLIGHTS: For a team with so-so expectations heading into the year, there weren’t many disappointments, but a win would have been nice. Loudon presented the best chance, when Servia made what would have been the winning pass during the botched restart, but it was called back and the team’s appeal was denied. Any chance to amend that in 2012 was dashed when Newman/Haas folded at the end of the season.

SEASON OUTLOOK: Most drivers don’t get bounced from their teams after a top-five points season, but such has always been Servia’s luck. He was let go when Newman/Haas closed up shop, then passed over for well-funded rides with Andretti Autosport and A.J. Foyt Enterprises before finally working out a deal with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. DRR will be one of the top teams running Lotus engines, partially because many of the brand’s customers will be start-up teams in 2012.

That being said, there’s almost no way that Servia will match his fourth-place mark from 2011. Don’t just blame it on the Lotus power, though – remember how much Justin Wilson, a fellow ex-Champ Car star, struggled with the team last season. DRR, as one of IndyCar’s oldest teams (dating back to the IRL days), has always been more of a threat at the ovals, and with those races minimized on this year’s schedule, may be in for an annus horribilis in 2012.

– Chris Leone

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