CHAMPCAR/CART: Surfers Paradise: Fernandez Racing race report

Fernandez 12th after an eventful day in Surfers Paradise. A strong start to the weekend ended with a 12th-place finish for Adrian Fernandez this afternoon in the Lexmark Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia. Fernandez, who started fifth,...

Fernandez 12th after an eventful day in Surfers Paradise.

A strong start to the weekend ended with a 12th-place finish for Adrian Fernandez this afternoon in the Lexmark Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia. Fernandez, who started fifth, moved up into the second spot just as the race was red-flagged on Lap 14 due to heavy rain. Fernandez held second place most of the day after the race resumed until an on-track incident closed the pits as both he and then race leader Michel Jourdain were scheduled to make their final mandatory pit stop. The cars that were out of sequence on pit stops moved ahead and Fernandez fell to sixth. Contact with the wall after a restart on Lap 40 due to a wet patch on the track dropped Fernandez to a 12th-place finish.

The final round of the 19-race 2003 Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford will take place next Sunday with the King Taco 500 at California Speedway.

Adrian Fernandez, Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

"It was unfortunate today because we had a really good car. I think we had a car to win. The start of the race was bad. Sebastien [Bourdais] was slowing down everyone way too much and it was too dangerous on this type of track. I wasn't very impressed. After that, it was a rollercoaster of disasters. First the rain with the hail. It was very hard to keep the car on the track under those conditions. After the race was restarted, my car was very fast in the dry and I was pushing hard. Unfortunately the inside line was still wet so it was very risky to take a chance and, with all the yellows, it was very hard to get into a rhythm. When I spun on the restart [Lap 40], I was trying to get close to Michel [Jourdain] to try to pass him. Coming into the corner, I must have touched a wet spot and that spun me around. It wasn't a mistake in terms of braking late or anything. Unfortunately this has been our year - up and down. We had a fast car here; we had a fast car in Miami and we couldn't win it. It's unfortunate because we have had fast cars. We still don't have the consistency but we have the ingredients. Today was my mistake. It has just been an up and down year in that respect."

Gustavo del Campo, Team Manager:

"It was a tough end to the weekend. It was good we finished the race but something was not right. We were P2 when the race was stopped for the rain. We had a very good chance and Adrian was doing a good job. There was an incident on track and they closed the pits when we were to [make our mandatory pit] stop. The cars out of sequence on pit stops were then ahead of us and we fell to sixth. For the last restart, we were running fifth when Adrian spun after he touched a wet spot on the track. He damaged the front wing a little bit but we were able to come back and finish the race. We made one point but it was not what we were looking for today. We did a good job this weekend with a strong car. For sure, it was difficult for Adrian after what happened here last year and it was important for us to finish the race."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez