Lowe's Fernandez Seventh at Mexico City (Mexico City) - It wasn't what the new Lowe's Fernandez Racing team hoped for Saturday in Mexico City, but a seventh-place finish in the second race of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Series was a ...
Lowe's Fernandez Seventh at Mexico City
(Mexico City) - It wasn't what the new Lowe's Fernandez Racing team hoped for Saturday in Mexico City, but a seventh-place finish in the second race of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Series was a respectable achievement for three days of hard work in Mexico.
The No. 12 Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype started fourth on the Hermanos Rodriguez road course with Mario Haberfeld behind the wheel. The 29-year-old Brazilian held that position in the early going, but near lap 10 he made contact with another car. The sanctioning body penalized the team with a stop-and-go penalty that saw the Lowe's car fall back to 16th.
Haberfeld charged through the field until the lap 50-mark when he turned the driving duties over to Adrian Fernandez who continued the team's charge in the second half of the race. He was seventh when the checkered flag fell.
The race was won by the driving duo of Scott Pruett and Mexico native Luis Diaz who started from the pole and led every lap.
The Rolex Series returns to action March 25 at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Adrian Fernandez: "It was looking good until they unfortunately penalized Mario for an incident. From what we could see and talking to Mario he was trying to pass this guy and he was committed and he suddenly changed his line and Mario couldn't do anything so he hit him. Unfortunately they penalized us a stop and go and that put us all the way to the back. He did a great job in trying to come back there. There came a yellow and I jumped in. After that it was just battling and getting used to the car again and battling the other cars. The competition was very strong. Very good. The series is really good. We have a lot of work to do. We still don't have the straight speed we need. But, overall we were competitive and never gave up. It's all part of learning about this series and that is what we are doing. I knew Diaz was going to be very strong. I have very happy for him. He is a good friend and it is good for him and good for Mexico."
Mario Haberfeld: "I don't think it was a great day for Lowe's Fernandez Racing but in the end we finished our first race. I think we are a new team and learning all the time. It was a good weekend overall. Qualifying was good and we managed to learn a lot of things about the car. As for the race itself I got penalized for making contact with another car. In my point of view it was just a racing accident but there is nothing we can do about that. That cost us a top five or maybe a podium position. At the end of the day it was a positive weekend, we finished the race and learned a lot."