CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez looking forward to Montreal race weekend The Champ Car World Series makes its third and final stop in Canada this season with a visit to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for this weekend's Molson Indy Montreal. The 2.709-mile permanent...

Fernandez looking forward to Montreal race weekend

The Champ Car World Series makes its third and final stop in Canada this season with a visit to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for this weekend's Molson Indy Montreal. The 2.709-mile permanent road course on Ile-Notre-Dame, named in memory of legendary Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve in 1982, hosted its inaugural round of Champ Car competition last year with rave reviews from drivers and strong support from fans with a three-day attendance of 172,000.

Adrian Fernandez is looking for a more memorable visit to the historic Montreal circuit this year, after enduring a weekend plagued by mechanical problems and a late-race accident last August. A seventh-place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course two weeks ago has moved Fernandez up to sixth in the championship rankings. With only six rounds of competition remaining on the 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford schedule, the battle for position in the championship standings is stronger than ever.

The Molson Indy Montreal will be broadcast live on Fox Sports en Espanol at 2:00 pm ET this Sunday, and shown on Speed Channel at 9:30 pm ET with a pre-race show beginning at 9:00 pm.

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

Only competing owner/driver in the Champ Car field
Currently sits sixth in the championship standings with 77 points
Will be making his second Champ Car start in Montreal
Qualified 16th last year in Montreal, and was credited with 12th place after contact on Lap 70
Has finished in the points at the seven road course events contested to date this season
Best 2003 road course finish was a win in Portland; best 2003 start was third in Portland
Two of his eight career wins were on road courses -- Portland in 2003 and Mid-Ohio in 1998
Career-best road course start was pole position at Monterrey, Mexico, in 2002

"Montreal is a beautiful city, and the race is very well supported by the fans. The circuit is fantastic and I think all the drivers really enjoyed their visit last year. I am looking forward to this weekend and to hopefully finishing on the podium. We made a few changes within the team for the last race at Mid-Ohio and things went very well. There are still a few things to get organized and to learn, but I think we are going in the right direction and hopefully we can prove it in the next few races."

FAST FACTS:

Will be making his174th Champ Car career start-- recorded seven top-10 finishes in 13 rounds of 2003 competition to date-- has qualified seventh or better in seven races to date, claiming his best starting position of third in St. Petersburg and Portland-- has finished over 50 percent of his 55 Champ Car career road course starts in the top 10 and has five road course podiums-- enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with eight career wins and three pole positions-- 40 years old from Mexico City-- formed Fernandez Racing in the fall of 2000 with Tom Anderson-- only competing owner/driver in the series-- is the third most-winning driver in the current Champ Car field-- ranked ninth in CART all-time career starts-- has 21 Champ Car career podiums to his credit-- last win was at Portland on June 22-- last pole position was at Milwaukee in 2002.

Track Talk

The 13-turn permanent road course provides plenty of challenges for engineers to create a well-balanced setup. Fernandez Racing Race Engineer Chris Finch notes: "The style of the Montreal circuit requires a car that can brake deep, turn sharp and aggressive, ride the curbs well and put the power down with minimal wheel spin.

"The track is fast with four straights that will have speeds in excess of 170 mph. The straights are coupled together with chicanes that will average minimum speeds from 50 to 80 mph. Geographically, the track is relatively flat but is FIA-homologated and the curbs are FIA-style meaning, in general, the largest curbs we normally see."

Drivers will shift 42 times per lap throughout the course of the 75-lap race, pulling a maximum G-force load of 2.9. The maximum lap interval for pit stops is set at 20 laps, requiring a minimum of three stops.

Broadcast on Speed Channel beginning at 1:30 pm ET.

-fr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Tom Anderson