CHAMPCAR/CART: Mont?rr?y: Fern?ndez Racing Saturday qualifying report

Fernández on Pole for Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- ...

Fernández on Pole for Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix

Adrián Fernández, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

"This is the first pole position for the team and my first [Champ Car] pole on a road course. It's just fantastic, especially because it happened here in Monterrey. This is one of the most special days of my career. This is great for all of our fans here in Mexico and for all of our sponsors. I also want to say thanks to Honda, Lola and Bridgestone. We did a good job so far, now we have to finish it tomorrow. I also want to congratulate my fellow countrymen Michel [Jourdain] and Mario [Dominguez] on an outstanding job.

"We didn't expect the rain during qualifying. We thought the rain was coming tomorrow. The plan was to go out and do five laps and save the remaining laps for the end. We went out at the right time. Don [Halliday] timed it perfectly in that respect. The weather got worse and we were able to pick up another championship point today.

"As far as tomorrow goes, it is tough to say. Conditions are changing a lot and I don't think anybody is prepared for the conditions if it is going to be like this. At least I got a few laps to figure out what it is going to be like ^Ö a little taste. If it is dry, I think we have a good car. It really will depend on how conditions are during the warm up. At this point, it is a little bit of lottery for everybody, but we are in a good situation to start the race right now."

FAST FACTS: Second Champ Car career pole position
--scored first Champ Car pole at Michigan in 1998
--Only owner/driver in current Champ Car field
--Ranked fourth among active CART drivers in career wins with seven
--will be making his 146th career Champ Car start
--tied for 13th in CART career starts
--started and finished 19th at Monterrey last year in team's debut
--has finished 24 of 42 Champ Car career road course starts in the top 10 (57%)
--Fernández and Nakano are currently the only drivers running the Honda/Lola/Bridgestone combination.

Shinji Nakano, #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

"It was a day for Adrian and that is great for the team. I had an electrical problem this morning on our primary car, and could only do a few runs. We changed the setup for the qualifying, and I had reasonable hope but then it rained. We knew we would lose our position if we went out in the wet condition [in the backup car], but we wanted to know how the car was in the wet. For me, this weekend has not been very good. Hopefully tomorrow is going to be better. It will be interesting if it is raining here tomorrow. The track is really slippery."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 38th career Champ Car start
--enters his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernández Racing
-- Started 27th and finished 18th at Monterrey last year in team's debut
--has 11 Champ Car career road course starts to his credit
-- best road course finish was 11th at Portland in 2000.

Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:

"I would not have believed that Monterrey could have built more emotion this year than it did 12 months ago being Fernandez Racing's first race. Monterrey is an adventure every day and to use a saying often used by Shinji, 'Oh my God, what next?' Fantastic day for Adrian, and most well deserved from the many hours he has worked. For Lola and Honda, their first championship points of the season as manufacturers, and a well deserved thanks to Bridgestone. They gave us a rain tire with grip for the quickest time during the rainy qualifying session today. On the other hand, a very dismal day for Shinji through no fault of his own. The team did not perform for him today, and for that I apologize. Tomorrow is a new day and we will stay late tonight to prepare properly for our first race of the New CART season."

Don Halliday, Co-Owner/Technical Director/Race Engineer-Fernández:

"The team had made tremendous steps last year before I arrived and since then we have continued this process. Recently there has been a tremendous effort by everyone. What better reward than to be on pole in Mexico where our sponsors are based. It's actually a relief. Tomorrow we hope to race well. We do believe we have a good car. This morning we didn't show what we were capable of doing for a variety of reasons. Don't underestimate us."

-fr-

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Series INDYCAR