Lowe's Fernandez Racing Qualifies Fifth at Lime Rock Adrian Fernandez made a strong run for the front of the field in qualifying for tomorrow's American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix but a lack of grip in the critical closing minutes dropped the...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Qualifies Fifth at Lime Rock
Adrian Fernandez made a strong run for the front of the field in qualifying for tomorrow's American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix but a lack of grip in the critical closing minutes dropped the #15 Lowe's Acura ARX to fifth overall on the grid. The newly paved 1.51-mile Lime Rock Park circuit provided both a much improved racing surface and a rash of red flags in the two one-hour practice sessions leading up to this afternoon's qualifying.
Luis Diaz handled driving duties in the first practice session, claiming the third-fastest time overall after a timing transponder problem was remedied which initially placed him ninth on the timesheets. Fernandez took over for the second session and was sixth overall in a session plagued by red flags.
Fernandez's best lap in qualifying, a 47.264 seconds (114.252 mph), was a half a second off the pole winning time posted by fellow Acura driver David Brabham in a tightly grouped field with the first seven positions -- all held by the LMP2 class -- covered by six-tenths of a second.
Adrian Fernandez, #15 Lowe's Acura ARX: "We would have liked to have had a better starting spot but it's not bad. I gave everything I could but at the end, I was just losing grip and came in early. I was thinking about the race and I knew I couldn't do a better lap. There was a lot of dust and sand outside the chicanes. The car was just not getting better; it was getting worse so I decided to come in. The times are pretty close. It is good for [David] Brabham and the Acura teams. Hopefully, we will have a better race then we had here last year [retiring with a mechanical problem].
"The track has been improved a lot with the new pavement. This circuit is very beautiful and the atmosphere is great but it is just a little short for prototypes. Some of the straights on the back, which are really not straights but winding corners, make it very difficult to work with the traffic and that is why there has been so much contact today. But it is a nice track and now that it has the grip, you really enjoy it a lot. They have done a good job and it is good for the fans. Hopefully we can put on a good show for them with not many yellows. Unfortunately, the contact has been between cars that are not competing against each other [in class]."
Luis Diaz, #15 Lowe's Acura ARX: "It was a very calm, easy day for me. I did the first session, learning the track and the new configuration. The car was okay but we still need to make some changes. In general, the car is competitive. I don't think this race will be a matter of speed. You have to think about being there for the last 30 minutes. We are in good shape. The biggest challenge tomorrow will be the traffic."