TORONTO, CANADA - SATURDAY, JULY 15, 2000 -- Round 10 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez qualified ninth and Roberto Moreno 16th for tomorrow's Molson Indy Toronto on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in ...
TORONTO, CANADA - SATURDAY, JULY 15, 2000 -- Round 10 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Adrian Fernandez qualified ninth and Roberto Moreno 16th for tomorrow's Molson Indy Toronto on the temporary street circuit at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Canada.
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, was 20th on the provisional grid following Friday's qualifying session with a time of 71.3981 seconds (88.511 mph) after suffering through a series of mishaps that included smoke coming from the back of the car and a broken toe link all of which conspired to limit his track time and speed. Provisional qualifying was run in wet conditions, which also contributed to his relatively slow time. However, just as during Friday's morning practice session, when he was third on the speed chart with a time of 58.917 (107.236 mph), Fernandez came out strong in Saturday morning practice running a time of 58.818 seconds (107.181 mph) good for eight fastest overall time of the weekend. In qualifying he ran with the first or "slow" group as a result of yesterday's provisional qualifying performance, but demonstrated almost immediately that he was going to be a factort. His time of 58.056 seconds (108.826 mph) was the second quickest of the session and vaulted him 11 places on the starting grid to the inside of Row Five.
"We improved the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth a lot from yesterday. Unfortunately, we didn't really get a clean lap on my second set of tires during qualifying. But, we made a good effort at the end and considering all the problems we had yesterday, I am happy. We needed to qualify in the top-10 for this race and that's what we did. Now we just have to keep our focus, pay attention to detail and we will have a good result in the race tomorrow."
Fernandez is hoping that today's effort is an indication that the bad luck that has plagued him for much of the season to date is now behind him. This is his second highest starting position in seven attempts at Toronto surpassed only a third place qualifying effort in 1996 the year he won the race taking his first career CART victory. The 35-year-old Mexican, who is currently 11th in the championship race with 45 points, has now qualified in the top-10 in seven of ten races. He has finished six of nine races, placed in the top-10 five times, including a win in Rio, and finished in the points six times this year.
Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, began the day 11th on the provisional grid with a time of 63.661 seconds (99.244 mph) mostly due to the wet conditions and the fact that he was accessed an eight minute penalty for causing a red flag during final qualifying at Cleveland two weeks ago. Even with the limited time he appeared to have a strong car and figured to move up in final qualifying here in Toronto particularly in light of the fact that he was fourth on the Friday morning practice chart with a time of 58.189 seconds (130.293 mph) and was on the pole when he was retired to serve the penalty. During the Saturday morning practice session the team continued to work with his set-up, but ended the session with only the 16th fastest time (59.307 seconds, 106.530 mph). However, the team remained confident entering the final qualifying. Running with the second or fast group, Moreno struggled somewhat with a loose car and in the closing minutes of the session spun thus ending his day.
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth was loose and we didn't have a very good qualifying effort. I spun the car at the end because I was trying very hard and I over did it. Overall I am quite happy with the car for tomorrow. We tried a different set-up for today and it didn't work out, but we know what we need to do. The Visteon/Patrick Racing crew will work very hard tonight to get the car sorted out. We will go over tomorrow's strategy and I am am sure the team will give me a good car and a good effort tomorrow. I was just reminded that I started 17th here last year and still managed to finish fourth, so Toronto is a race that you can move up and finish in the top five even when you qualify back on the grid. I am very realistic about how competitive this championship race is going to be. The media has given me a lot of attention the last two or three weeks, but I think I have kept both my feet on the ground. You have to treat each race as a new challenge. You have to take the situation one race at a time."
Moreno, who is coming off a CART career best performance at Cleveland where he earned his first CART pole, won his first CART race and led the most laps, holds a 22-point lead in the FedEx Championship Series standings over Michael Andretti, 90-68. The 41-year-old Brazilian has finished seven of nine races, each time in the top-10 including four podium showings, the win at Cleveland, seconds at Miami and Portland and a third in Japan. Moreno, who had his worst qualifying effort of the season today, has now qualified in the top-10 in eight of ten races, with one pole. He is first in laps completed, first in miles completed and third in laps led. This is Moreno's second highest starting position in four attempts at Toronto. Last year he qualified 17th, but came on strong to finish fourth. His best starting position in Toronto is fourth ('86) and his best finish is fourth last year.
The Molson Indy Toronto will be run on Sunday, July 16 at 2:00 p.m. (ET) and will be televised tape delayed on ESPN2 at 3:00 p.m. (ET)