CHAMPCAR/CART: Montreal: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez getting stronger day by day; Nakano looking forward to Montreal return, Adrian Fernandez continues to make progress in recovering from injuries received in a race accident at Vancouver on July 28. Fernandez, who returned to the track...

Fernandez getting stronger day by day; Nakano looking forward to Montreal return,

Adrian Fernandez continues to make progress in recovering from injuries received in a race accident at Vancouver on July 28. Fernandez, who returned to the track last weekend after missing one race [Mid-Ohio] due to two hairline fractures of the left pelvis and a significant bruise on his right buttock, is pleased with his recovery: "I feel better every day, and being in the car last weekend actually made me feel better."

Shinji Nakano has good memories of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve from his Formula One days, finishing sixth and seventh at the Canadian Grand Prix in 1997 [Prost] and 1998 [Minardi]. Nakano has finished in the points the past seven races, and posted his career-best Champ Car finish of fourth at Round One of the Canadian Triple Crown in Toronto.

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

On Montreal: "Montreal is a fantastic circuit. I was there once a few years ago for a Formula One race. It will be a dream to drive on that track. I think the crowd will be incredible and the atmosphere will be similar to what we experience at Toronto and Vancouver - just tremendous. We are really looking forward to this weekend. I am getting stronger day by day [Fernandez is recovering from injuries received in a race accident in Vancouver] and the team has been making big gains. I had the best car that I have had all season at Road America [last weekend]. It should be a great weekend and a great event."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 157th Champ Car career start--- only owner/driver in current Champ Car field---currently ranked fifth among active drivers in career wins with seven--- is ranked 10th in CART all-time career starts--- currently sits 14th in the championship with 39 points--- has 47 career road course starts to his credit, finishing over half in the top 10--- three of his seven Champ Car career wins were on road/street circuits - Australia (2000), Mid-Ohio (1998) and Toronto (1996).

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

On Montreal: "I am really looking forward to this weekend. Montreal is going to be a great race - a lot of people, a great circuit and a beautiful city. I like the track and had good results there in Formula One [Nakano finished sixth and seventh at the Canadian Grand Prix in 1997 and 1998]. I think the race will be exciting. It is an interesting circuit. It reminds me of Australia with the long straight, chicanes and hairpins. The setup of the car is going to be a challenge. You need to use the curbs. It is a very fast track and you will be in the wall if you make a mistake.

"I think we made big progress last week in Elkhart Lake. We had been struggling on the road courses but, since Mid-Ohio, we changed our approach to finding a good setup for the road courses. We tried some new things and they worked pretty well at Elkhart. My engineer [French-Canadian Martin Paré] did a really good job there. My car improved a lot over the weekend and Sunday morning I thought I had almost a perfect car. I had big confidence for the race but, unfortunately, I had a mechanical failure. I am happy I had a car like that on a road course. It was the first time this year that I thought this is the car to drive."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 50th career Champ Car start --- Has finished in the points the past seven races, dating back to Portland on June 16--- claimed career-best road course finishes this season - 10th at Cleveland and ninth at Mid-Ohio--- has made 17 career road course starts, claiming five points-paying finishes--- is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernández Racing--- currently sits 15th in the championship with 39 points.

Fernandez Racing Team News:

Race Engineer Looks Forward to Home Race
It has been seven years since Martin Pare, race engineer for Shinji Nakano, last competed on the Montreal circuit. Pare, who hails from Quebec City, began his career with Canaska Racing, engineering the 1993 championship-winning Toyota Atlantic entry of David Empringham.

"I am looking forward to going back there," said Pare. "The last time I raced there was in 1994 with Patrick Carpentier in Atlantics. I have good memories of those days in 1993 and 1994 and I'm very excited."

Pare visited the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time in 1984, attending the Formula One race with his father. He became interested in racing after spending a summer in a mechanic's training program at the Spenard-David Racing School in Ontario, Canada. He holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Laval University in Quebec.

Pare is in his sixth season of Champ Car competition and second year with Fernandez Racing. He started as a data acquisition engineer for Adrian Fernandez at Tasman Motorsports Group in 1997.

Track Talk
CART will kick-off its new road-course qualifying rules at the Montreal race. The 60-minute sessions on Friday and Saturday will start with an open practice followed by a short break for teams to work on the cars. Immediately following the break, there will be 35 minutes of qualifying, with 30 minutes of guaranteed green flag time, in which drivers have a maximum of 15 laps to post their best time.

"I think the new rules will make qualifying even more competitive than it has been in the past," said Tom Anderson, co-owner and managing director of Fernandez Racing. "This new format will encourage everyone to run in the first 15 minutes of the designated time slot. This will provide an opportunity for the Champ Cars to put back down the Bridgestone rubber and assure that the race track will be in as perfect a condition as possible given the ambient conditions, leading to an absolute equal platform for the Champ Cars to qualify with their 15 laps. It is also going to lead to drivers and teams picking their slot on the race track proportionately to accommodate the full field in the shorter time slot.

"The intent of this change is to produce more action on the track. It is the thought of the CART Board that this will be more entertaining to the fans watching at home, as well as fans at the race track."

Fernandez Racing Team Stats
Since entering the CART FedEx Championship Series in 2001, Fernandez Racing, headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., has claimed two pole positions and three podiums. The team has posted six top-five finishes and 16 top-10 finishes in 31 races contested to date. Fernandez, Anderson and Don Halliday, the team's technical director and race engineer for Fernandez, are the team owners.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Patrick Carpentier , Shinji Nakano , Gilles Villeneuve , David Empringham , Tom Anderson