Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- ...
Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex
Qualified: 10th Finished: 21st
"We should have finished right there with Michael [Andretti]. We lost a position in the pits on our first stop, and then I was behind Michael. I was quicker than [Max] Papis, but he was too hard to pass so I stayed there and started saving fuel. We made our second pit stop and I was right there, but on this stop we short-fueled for some reason. We had less fuel so then we had a problem. I could not use any fuel to warm up my tires and get ready for the restart. It was very tricky on cold tires as you can see from everyone that went off.
"We also had a radio transmission problem and on the restart after my second [pit] stop, John [Ward, engineer] told me they were going to do the restart but then there was another yellow. There was some problem with the drivers not being in position. On the lap that was going to be the restart, John was talking but I was not able to hear him completely. The only thing that I heard was 'yellow.' I tried to come back to him and confirm, but he didn't hear me. I thought we were going to have another lap under yellow.
"When it went green that caught me completely by surprise because Oriol [Servia] passed me before we even crossed Start/Finish. I put everything in gear and as I went into the first corner, Michel Jourdain was behind me and he just didn't calculate where we were going to brake. He hit me in the back and I went into the tires. They pulled me back, but the car wouldn't restart. They tried twice and that was it. The car just wouldn't restart. We have a massive problem trying to restart the car. It just doesn't start. We had a good car today and stayed out of trouble under tough conditions. Unfortunately we didn't capitalize on the car that we had and the little mistakes here and there didn't help us get the result today. This should have been a third or fourth place easily. We just have to keep learning from our mistakes."
#52 Avex/Alpine Honda/Reynard/Firestone:
Qualified: 24th Finished: 14th
"I made a mistake. I got a lot of buildup on my tires under a yellow and had a big vibration. I had to come into the pits to change tires and I lost four or five positions. It was my mistake. The car was not bad otherwise. Maybe a little too much understeer, but not too bad. This mistake, picking up marbles on my tires under yellow, was a big one. I feel bad for the team. It was my mistake."
"It's all about where you qualify and even though both cars ran the same kind of speeds as the leader, we didn't have a lot of cards to play today with the timing of the yellows. Shinji got a lot of buildup on his tires and we had to pit, so that cost us a little bit. I didn't see the monitor to see why Adrian went off into the tires but if there's any damage, it's minor. All in all, part of a tough day at the office and part of the learning curve."