Graham Rahal believes the addition of Oriol Servia to the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing line-up will be extremely beneficial for the team, particularly when it comes to the Indianapolis 500, with the Spaniard’s experience likely to help the team head down the right path.
In 2016, Spencer Pigot was Rahal’s team-mate, but due to his lack of experience, particularly at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the whole month of May was a struggle for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and as such better things are expected with Servia behind the wheel.
Last year Rahal qualified a disappointing twenty-sixth on the starting grid and could only finish down in fourteenth, but the American is hopeful of better this year with Servia providing feedback with the second car.
“He’s going to help our performance at Indy, I can tell you that right now,” added Rahal. “He’s been there so many times with the organization, he’s been in and out of the team a handful of times, he knows everybody. So it’s a clear fit.
“I love Spencer, I think he’s got great potential in his career, but at Indy last year, you might as well have been a one-car team. Legitimately there was no information coming off of that car to help, and when we were having these aerodynamic issues, you need somebody to say, ‘Hey, I tested it, too, and I’m not really sure or whatever.
“When we were following this aero path, the comments from the other side were just like, ‘Yeah, it’s a lot better.’ So you just react. We need a very experienced guy who can help lead us down the right path, and Oriol is going to be that guy.”
Rahal revealed that several better funded drivers had come forward to drive the second RLLR car on a full-time basis in 2017, but Servia was always first choice, and although the Spaniard is only lined-up to drive at Indianapolis and at Detroit so far, hopes are that he will be able to get more outings and possibly a full season with the team.
“Several drivers came to the team who wanted to run full season, had budgets to do it and everything else, and they were all turned away,” revealed Rahal. “The team is focused on making sure if there is the addition of a second car full-time, it has to fit the environment… Oriol is a guy who fits just perfectly and won’t upset the apple cart, so to speak.”