Ford Racing driver Adrian Fernandez, who is recovering from a bout with food poisoning, is feeling a lot better after logging the quickest time of the day (68.636 seconds) today around the newly reconfigured Long Beach Grand Prix circuit to edge...
Ford Racing driver Adrian Fernandez, who is recovering from a bout with food poisoning, is feeling a lot better after logging the quickest time of the day (68.636 seconds) today around the newly reconfigured Long Beach Grand Prix circuit to edge Honda's Gil de Ferran (68.643) for the provisional pole.
Fernandez, seeking his second career pole (Michigan 1998) and first on a street circuit, dominated the afternoon qualifying session seeming to - at will - rebuff any attempt at the pole by his competitors.
Miami Grand Prix winner, Max Papis, drove his Miller Lite Ford into the top-three with a lap time of 68.698 seconds
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ -40- Tecate/Quaker State Ford-Cosworth - "This was a very exciting session - and a very close one too. On the lap that I got my fast time on, there was a yellow in one of the corners and I slowed down a bit. I think I lost about a tenth of a second or so. When I saw it was nothing, I just kept going. Actually, that lap was just barley quicker than my fastest lap. We are working on a few small changes in the car and we think we can be quicker tomorrow. I am also really happy for Ford and Cosworth. The engine has been working really good. The Ford guys have been telling me that the new engine would be as driveable as they have said it would be, and it is. I think we are going to give a lot of surprise this year with the Ford engine."
YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL THIS WEEKEND AND IT SEEMS THAT EVERY TIME YOU GET SICK ON A RACE WEEKEND YOU DO VERY WELL. ARE YOU GOING TO STOP SEEING THE DOCTOR? "This is strange. On Thursday I ate something and had an allergic reaction to something. All my body had red spots on it and I had to stay in my room all day yesterday. I felt miserable. To top it off, I was getting a cold too. This morning I went to see the doctors and he told me I will be fine. Right now my body is just aching, but when I get into the race car, I feel fine." MEMO GIDLEY -32- Player's Ford-Cosworth - HOW DIFFICULT IS IT FOR YOU TO JUMP RIGHT INTO THIS SITUATION? "It's tough to jump in cold turkey like I did. But I have a day behind me now and I feel a lot more comfortable. So now it's just a matter of me getting the laps I need and the car how I want it. There is more to come from me, it's just a matter of me getting back into the swing of things."
DO YOU LIKE THE TRACK? "I really like what they did with the track. There is a lot more room to pass and it's faster."
ALEX TAGLIANI -33- Player's Ford-Cosworth - "There was too much traffic. It's tough because some of the guys out there are real slow and others are fast and it's very hard to find a clear lap. We were just always at the wrong place at the wrong time."
MAX PAPIS -7- Miller Lite Ford-Cosworth - The car felt great. The new track layout is good. There is a lot more room to pass and it has a very good feel. My guys gave me a great car and it has been getting better. Firestone came here with a new tire compound and it's very consistent. I think tomorrow we will be much better and I look forward to giving Adrian a run for the pole."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI -6- Big Kmart/Texaco/Havoline Ford-Cosworth - "I couldn't get a clean lap. The car was a lot better than we showed. I came up on two cars, each time I was on new sets of tires and on my quick lap. The second time I thought I was being blocked a bit. The car is better than the time we ran. It's good enough to be a lot close to the front.
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI -11- Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford-Cosworth - "We just don't seem to have any grip today. The car has balance problems here and there, but they are manageable. We have a lot of work to do to get the car sorted out."
GUALTER SALLES -34- Panasonic Ford-Cosworth - "The mechanics did a great job getting the car back together after the big shunt I had with it last week in Nazareth. It's a bit of a struggle today getting everything working properly like the gearbox and things like that. Everything is new and we didn't have time to run the car before we got here. We improved a lot from this morning but we still have a lot more work to do."