VANCOUVER, B. C., CANADA - SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2000 - Round 15 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Roberto Moreno qualified tenth and Adrian Fernandez 15th for tomorrow's Molson Indy Vancouver on the temporary street circuit in Vancouver, B.
VANCOUVER, B. C., CANADA - SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2000 - Round 15 of the 2000 FedEx Championship Series - Roberto Moreno qualified tenth and Adrian Fernandez 15th for tomorrow's Molson Indy Vancouver on the temporary street circuit in Vancouver, B. C., Canada.
Moreno, in the #20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, started the day seventh on the provisional grid with a time of 61.846 seconds (103.670 mph).
In today's morning practice the Visteon/Patrick Racing team experimented with a variety of setups searching for balance and grip. Moreno's fastest time in the practice session was 63.885 seconds (100.362 mph) placing him 23rd on the morning's practice report. He ended up 26th on the two-day combined practice report with a time of 63.827 seconds (100.453 mph), which he achieved in the Friday morning practice. In final qualifying the Visteon/Patrick Racing team ran in the second or "fast group. They struggled at the beginning of the session, but worked diligently until they hit upon a solid combination. That allowed Moreno to run a quick time of 61.628 seconds (104.037 mph), which moved him into the tenth qualifying spot and the outside of row five on the starting grid.
"The Visteon/Patrick Racing team has been chasing the grip on the car all weekend. We started the final qualifying session and the car wasn't very good. In the process of trying to get more grip we unbalanced the car during the middle of the qualifying session. Towards the end of the session we were able to find the grip we needed. Unfortunately, at that point my tires were old and I was only able to get one good lap. We are definitely going in the right direction and we have a good race car...there is no doubt of that. I am confident we will be competitive tomorrow."
This is Moreno's highest starting position in his last six races. He has now qualified in the top-10 in nine of 15 races and five of eight road/street circuits with one pole. It is his second highest starting position at Vancouver behind a sixth place qualifying effort last year. In tomorrow's race Moreno will be trying to regain the lead in the FedEx Championship Series that he held early this season. He is currently second in the standings with 112 points just 13 points out of first. The 41-year-old Brazilian, who has not been lower than third in the standings since the third race of the season, has finished ten of 14 races, each time in the points. He has nine top-10 performances including six top five finishes and four podium showings with one win, his CART career first. This will be the fourth time Moreno has competed at Vancouver. His best finish is 15th (1997 and 1999).
Fernandez, driving the #40 Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth, went in the opposite direction of his teammate moving up three places on the grid. He began the day 18th on the provisional grid with a quick lap of 62.817 seconds (101.983 mph). In Saturday morning's practice he began to show immediate improvement running a time of 62.732 seconds (102.206 mph) in comparison to a 63.010 seconds (101.755) in the Friday morning practice. He ended up 17th on the Saturday practice report placing him 20th on the two-day combined practice report. In final qualifying the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth ran in the first or "slow" group, but continued to show improvement. Fernandez ran the third quickest lap of his group and the 14th fastest lap of the two final qualifying sessions. His time of 61.960 seconds (103.480 mph) puts him 15th on the grid starting on the inside of row eight.
"The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team improved the car from yesterday. The car is still not quite balanced the way I want it. We aren't to far off in terms of speed except for Team Kool Green and Marlboro Team Penske. They are very fast this weekend. The Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing team will sit down this afternoon and go over the data. Hopefully, we can make some good changes for the race tomorrow. Pit and fuel strategy will be very important in the race, but the main thing is to get the Tecate/Quaker State/Patrick Racing Ford-Cosworth working better especially in cooler conditions."
Fernandez has now qualified in the top-10 at seven of 15 races and five of eight road/street circuits. The 15th place starting position is his third highest at Vancouver. Fernandez will be trying to continue his streak of points paying finishes that has made him the hottest driver in the series. The 35-year-old Mexican, who was 11th in the championship race as late as July 2, is now fourth in the championship race. He is just three points out of third place, nine out of second and 22 out of first. Fernandez has finished in the top five in three of his last five races and in the top six in all five. He has scored points in 11 of his last 12 starts. The Paradise Valley, Arizona resident has finished 11 of 14 races this year (the most of any driver) each time in the points. He has 10 top-10 showings including five top five finishes with three podiums performances. This will be the sixth time Fernandez has competed in Vancouver. His best finish is eight (1996).
The Molson Indy Vancouver will be run on Sunday, September 1 at 1:00 p.m. (PT) and will be televised live on ABC at 1:00 p.m. (PT) (4:00 P.M. ET). k