Utah: Fernandez Racing qualifying report

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Qualifies Ninth for Salt Lake City Finale The ...

Lowe's Fernandez Racing Qualifies Ninth for Salt Lake City Finale

The #12 Lowe's Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley of Adrian Fernandez, Mario Haberfeld and Vitor Meira will start Saturday's Grand American Rolex Series 9-hour season finale from the inside of the fifth row after qualifying this afternoon on the brand new 4.5-mile Miller Motorsports Park road circuit outside Salt Lake City, Utah.

Haberfeld assumed qualifying duties once again for this afternoon's 15-minute session to set the grid for Saturday's endurance marathon. His best qualifying lap of 2 minutes, 39.632 seconds (an average of 101.168 mph) around the massive 24-turn layout was ninth best among the 43 competitors who will line up for the green flag Saturday. Regular teammates Fernandez and Haberfeld have added Meira, an IndyCar Series regular, to the lineup for this event. They shared practice time during Wednesday's promoter test day and Thursday's two daytime and one nighttime session. Focusing exclusively on race setup prior to this morning's fourth official practice of the weekend, their best efforts in the practice order were sixth during yesterday's mid-afternoon practice and seventh in the nighttime session.

Adrian Fernandez: "It's going to be a long race so the most important thing for everyone out there is to be smart. We believe we have a really good setup for the Lowe's car and we have three drivers who can definitely bring it home in one piece. If that happens, we'll have a good finish because that's usually the reward in these long races. We'll be able to run a good pace. It'll be important to not take any unnecessary chances whatsoever, and to not take anything personally out there. Things will happen. We just have to not let ourselves get caught up in the moments, if we can help it."

Mario Haberfeld: "Being another track that we have never raced on, it took a little bit of time to learn it. Obviously this one is slightly more difficult than most because, as long as it is, it's practically like two tracks in one. But it's safe to say we have it figured out now. We started a little loose in testing on Wednesday and somehow as the track kept changing, it went to push with every new session. That was okay because we were working on race setup until this morning, when we made it more neutral for qualifying. I had trouble getting a clear lap, so we probably could have started a little better if I could've found one. But now more than ever, where you start is not as important with nine hours to work with. As usual, we have a very good car for the race and it should get even better in the late afternoon and in the evening. A lot of the cars that are good now (in the heat of the day) are going to lose balance. We'll definitely need a little bit of luck to go with our good car, but that seems to have been on our side more often than not lately."

Vitor Meira: "Being the new guy on the team, I've been doing a lot of listening to Adrian and Mario here this weekend. They've really helped a lot to make me comfortable in the car, and to learn what to expect out there both in practice and especially during the race. This will be a good experience for me. Running with all the different kinds of prototypes, and with all the (smaller-class) GT cars out there, I still won't know what to expect until I'm out there with them in race conditions, but I'll have a long time to learn. I'm excited. I'm confident. The Lowe's team is a good team and hopefully I can help them get the ultimate result."

-credit: fernandez racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Adrian Fernandez , Vitor Meira