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Oriol Servia, Panther DRR prove their mettle

May 5, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT

Sao Paulo Indy 300 - Day 1 Getty Images

If Oriol Servia and the Panther Dreyer and Reinbold Racing team must end their season following the Indianapolis 500 later this month, their fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 should be enough proof that they intend to go down swinging.

Last week, the team confirmed reports that it would not return to the track this year after the ‘500’ if additional funding was not found. But despite the situation, they came through with an admirable effort in Brazil.

It was a great car today,” said Servia, who started from 13th position. “The last two races, I had a great car in qualifying. The way the wrecks in qualifying have gone, we have started at the back, but we have gone through the field twice today and finished fourth. I really thought we had a podium; really, we had a car to win.”

Servia proved quite game throughout the event and took his No. 22 Valspar Chevrolet as high as second before coming to pit road under green flag conditions on Lap 50. However, the caution came out one lap later for Tony Kanaan coming to a stop on the front stretch, and Servia was shuffled back to 11th as a result.

Undeterred, the Spaniard went to work and climbed back into the Top 5 following restarts at Laps 52 and 58. He would stay there, passing Josef Newgarden in the final corner of the race for his fourth-place finish (his best of the season).

Now the team must shift focus to what may be their last race of 2013 — a prospect that Servia fervently hopes they can keep from happening.

“It’s just — I don’t know what is going to happen in the future,” Servia said. “…We work so hard to have the car and the team we have. We are contenders. We just need to find a little more money to continue, but I’m very happy today.

“We are working well, we are doing our jobs right, and something is going to happen.”

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