Fernandez Fast in Le Mans Testing Sets Quickest Time of LMP2 Class Field LE MANS, France (June 3, 2007) -- Official testing for the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was held today at the Circuit de la Sarthe with Adrian Fernandez placing...
Fernandez Fast in Le Mans Testing
Sets Quickest Time of LMP2 Class Field
LE MANS, France (June 3, 2007) -- Official testing for the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was held today at the Circuit de la Sarthe with Adrian Fernandez placing the Barazi Epsilon-entered #33 Zytek 07S/2 sportscar sponsored by Lowe's at the top of the LMP2 class timesheets. Fernandez's best lap of 3:39.016 -- over two seconds quicker than last year's pole time -- was matched by Michael Vergers in the #32 Zytek 07S/2 also entered by the Barazi Epsilon team. A field of 55 cars took to the 8.4-mile circuit during today's eight-hour practice session.
Fernandez, who will be the first Mexican driver in over a decade to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was joined behind the wheel of the Zytek machine by Haruki Kurosawa [Har-roo-key Cur-o-sow-a] of Japan and Robbie Kerr of England. Kurosawa, who has two Le Mans starts to his credit, most recently contested the European Le Mans Series while Kerr hails from the A1GP World Cup ranks. Both Fernandez and Kerr will be making their debuts in the world's most famous endurance race on June 16.
"The experience of being at Le Mans has just been fantastic," said Fernandez. "I rode the track on a bicycle and then we drove it and, knowing the history of this place, it was just incredible, particularly the public roads where the straights are very long. It is amazing, especially when you are in the race car. It gives you a perspective of how it used to be, like in the Fangio years, because you are on these long straights -- some are winding roads -- and you are doing over 300 km per hour (200+ mph). It is very fast, and you are in top gear for a long, long time.
"It doesn't look like a race track. It looks like a road with the trees, the town, the houses and that is why it is fantastic to go at the speeds we are doing. The whole experience has been very nice, and I can't say enough about this track. It's fantastic. It is very fast and extremely challenging and if you make a small mistake, you pay big. There are not many race tracks in the world like this and that is what makes it so special."
With Zytek claiming the first two LMP2 class spots with 3:39.016 laps, the remaining top-five included the Quifel-ASM team of Amaral, De Castro and Hughes in a Lola B05/40 AER with a 3:40.613, Team RML and drivers Erdos, Newton and Wallace aboard a MG Lola EX264 AER with a 3:41.025 and the Binnie Motorsports squad of Binnie, Timpany and Buncombe in a Zytek-powered Lola B05/40 with a 3:43.867.
"Our car was very good," noted Fernandez. "The Zytek team has been working hard to help us get up to speed quickly. I didn't expect us to be one of the fastest. Our time was tied with a good friend of mine, Michael Vergers, who was my teammate in 1989 with John Village [Team John Village Automotive in the RAC British Formula Ford 1600 Championship]. We did exactly the same time and shared the fastest lap of the day. That was nice. With Kurosawa and Kerr, I think we have one of the best three-driver efforts and also a good package. If we really take care of the car and the car lasts, I think we can win this thing."
The 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. ET) on Saturday, June 16 from the Circuit de la Sarthe. SPEED will provide 17.5 hours of coverage in North America starting at 8:30 a.m. ET on June 16. MotorsTV will air week-long coverage throughout Europe. Live coverage can be found on Radio Le Mans through americanlemans.com