CHAMPCAR/CART: Patrick Racing Gold Coast final qualifying notes

SURFERS PARADISE, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA - SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2000 - Round 19 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez qualified 17th and Roberto Moreno 20th for tomorrow's Honda Indy 300, on the temporary street circuit in...

SURFERS PARADISE, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA - SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2000 - Round 19 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez qualified 17th and Roberto Moreno 20th for tomorrow's Honda Indy 300, on the temporary street circuit in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia.

The day started with the Saturday morning practice session, which was run in rainy, windy weather. Therefore, both Patrick Racing entries decided to wait until conditions improved.

Fernandez , driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, began the day 15th on the provisional grid with a time of 94.333 seconds (106.665 mph). He ran only the final 17 minutes of the 75-minute morning practice session turning a quick lap of 97.240 seconds (103.476 mph). The time was an improvement over his Friday morning practice quick lap of 98.759 seconds (101.884 mph), and indicated that the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team was headed in the right direction. The Saturday morning practice time was the ninth fastest of the session and the 17th quickest on the combined two-day practice report. Final qualifying was run in dry, but windy conditions and plagued by red flags. During the session, Fernandez appeared to be in a position to improve his time. However, toward the end of qualifying he was hit from behind and spun. When he attempted to get the car going in the right direction he damaged the clutch thus preventing him from getting in his final two hot laps. Fernandez was therefore unable to improve on his provisional qualifying time and dropped two places on the grid. He will start on the inside of row nine tomorrow.

"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team has struggled with the set-up all weekend. We have improved the car, but we still haven't found a really consistent set-up. The rain hasn't helped because we needed to get some more practice time, but it has been the same for everybody so we can't use that as an excuse. Basically, we are having a problem with the overall grip on the car. It is very difficult to put the power down and the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth is very unforgiving. We are going to sit down this afternoon and see what we can come up with to improve the car. Hopefully, we can get ourselves going in the right direction during the morning warm-up tomorrow. This is going to be a very difficult race. We are starting way in the back, but the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team will work very hard and we won't give up. With a little luck we can get some points tomorrow and stay in the championship race."

Fernandez, who has now qualified in the top-10 in eight of 19 races and five of eleven road/street circuits, will be looking to extend his streak of points paying finishes to 12 in tomorrow's race. He is currently tied for fourth with Michael Andretti in the FedEx Championship Series standings with 127 points (Andretti holds the tie-breaker by virtue of more victories). The 35-year-old Mexican is just seven points out of second place and 26 points out of first. Fernandez has placed in the top-10 in nine of his last 11 races while compiling six top-six finishes in his last nine races with four top five showings and three podiums. After a slow start to the season, Fernandez has come on to tally points in 15 of his last 16 starts. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident will be competing on the challenging Surfers Paradise street circuit for the seventh time. In his six previous races his best qualifying position is fourth, in 1994, and his best finish is third last year.

Moreno , driving the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, went into final qualifying 19th on the provisional grid with a time of 94.992 seconds (105.925 mph). In Saturday morning practice the Visteon/Patrick Racing team continued to work diligently to improve the set-up on the car, but were hampered by limited track time due to the poor weather conditions. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team ran only 25 minutes of the session with a fastest lap of 99.600 seconds (101.024 mph). It was the 16th fastest time of the session, but was not faster than his Friday morning practice time of 97.510 seconds (103.189 mph), which placed him 19th on the two-day combined practice report. In final qualifying, Moreno continued to make changes to the car in search of a quick set-up. He did managed to improve his time by slightly over .1 seconds to 94.835 seconds (106.100 mph), but still fell one place on the grid. He will line-up on the outside of row ten for the race.

"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team had a difficult final qualifying session. We tried a lot of different things, and definitely have improved the Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth from yesterday, but we still aren't quite where we want to be. We are going to have to work very hard during the race and rely on pit work and good race strategy. Fortunately for me, that has been our signature this year. The Visteon/Patrick Racing team has done an outstanding job all season in the pits and Mr. Patrick and Jim McGee always seemed to find a way to get me in a position where I can compete for some points. Hopefully, we can figure out something to help us tomorrow and keep ourselves in the championship hunt."

Moreno, who has now qualified in the top-10 in nine of 19 races and five of eleven street/road circuits, is looking to move up in the race for the 2000 FedEx Championship Series title. He is currently third in the championship standings with 131 points just three points out of second place and 22 points out of first. The 41-year-old Brazilian, who is in his seventh CART campaign and first with Patrick Racing, has not been lower than fifth all season and rarely out of the top three. He has finished in the top-10 in four of his last seven races and placed in the points six times. The Weston, Florida resident will be racing in Surfers Paradise for the second time. In his only previously start, in 1996, he qualifyied 19th and finished 12th.

The Honda Indy 300 will be run on Sunday, October 15 at 2:00 p.m. (Australia time). Check your local listings for broadcast time.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Adrian Fernandez , Roberto Moreno