TEAM NEWS: Lowe's Fernandez Racing Qualifies Fourth in St. Petersburg

Photo by John Thawley The Lowe's Fernandez Racing duo of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz will start fourth in Saturday's Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg. Following two one-hour practice sessions on the tight 1.8-mile, 14-turn circuit, Fernandez posted a best time of 63.432 seconds (102.157 mph) in qualifying which placed the #15 Lowe's Acura Lola in a key position on the starting grid. Fernandez posted the fastest time of the three Acura-powered teams and lines up third in the American Le Mans Series LMP2 class.

Lowe's Fernandez Racing currently sits second in the LMP2 class standings following an impressive debut at Sebring two weeks ago.

Adrian Fernandez - #15 Lowe's Acura Lola:

"I was happy with our qualifying run. The car was a lot better than it was in Sebring where we were scratching our heads. We had an excellent result with a second place and one-two for Acura, but the car was not fast enough. With this car on a bumpy circuit, we seemed to be missing something. We came here with a good baseline and the car straight away was quick. We have a good balance and the Acura engine is very strong. We just have a good car. I was fighting with the Porsches in practice and I think we had something for them. At the end, they went three-tenths quicker and that means we have to keep working hard. They have a year advantage [in the series] on us, but what Acura and Michelin and everyone are doing here is helping us to get up to speed quickly. Fourth place is a fantastic start for us. Most important for me and Luis is that we finally feel we have a race car back with us. It just feels racy; it feels good. I was pushing hard trying to get that last little bit."

He brushed the wall on his last flying lap, scuffing the top of the bolts on both sides of the rear wing: "I did a 63.7 and John [Ward, race engineer] told me the fastest time was a 63.0. I knew the only way I could get it was to just get closer to the limit. I was braking later and tried to use most of the track and to put the power down as early as I could. I knew I was close but didn't know how close and that was the lap. I was pretty happy with that."

Luis Diaz -- #15 Lowe's Acura Lola:

"Today was a lot better than I expected. I am very happy with the car the way it is right now. The team worked very hard to give us a competitive car for here with Acura, Lola and Michelin. For tomorrow, we have a good chance to race with the Penskes, Andretti Green and Highcroft. We are in good shape with a good starting position. We know it is going to be a very tough race tomorrow. It is a very tough circuit especially with so much traffic. If we can keep the car on the track, I know we can finish very well."

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