Lowe’s Fernandez Racing continued their dominant showing in American Le Mans Series’ LMP2 competition, claiming the class pole and third place overall in qualifying this afternoon for the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans at Long Beach. The #15 Lowe’s Acura ARX was strong out of the box on the challenging 1.968-mile, 11-turn street circuit with Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz leading the P2 contingent from the start of track activity yesterday. Fernandez handled qualifying duties.
A factor in two previous ALMS starts at Long Beach, Fernandez and Diaz have not been able to profit from their efforts with an unrepresentative eighth-place overall result on each occasion. Both have celebrated a podium finish at the popular and picturesque venue previously, with Fernandez finishing second in Champ Car competition and Diaz recording a Grand-Am victory alongside then-teammate Scott Pruett. The pair hope their experience at Long Beach, with 22 career starts between them, and the pace of the Lowe’s Acura will lead to strong showing in tomorrow’s race.
Qualifying Results (Overall):
1. Brabham/Sharp – LMP1 Acura ARX 02a 1:11.627 = 98.912 mph
2. de Ferran/Pagenaud – LMP1 Acura ARX 02a 1:11.699 = 98.813 mph
3. Fernandez/Diaz – LMP2 Lowe’s Acura ARX-01b 1:13.134 = 96.874 mph
Adrian Fernandez: “It was really close in qualifying at the end. We had a good gap to the Dyson team and thought we were okay so we decided to stop and save the tires for the race. But it got too close at the end with them closing up to us within two-tenths [of a second]. It was good for the competition but we were sweating a little bit at the end. The car was looser than I would have liked. We were really pushing in the morning and made some changes and, with the conditions, the car was a little loose. We needed to make a change to go faster, and I could see the track was getting better. It was important to save the tires for the race but we may have to rethink that strategy for the future because it was really close. The race should be quite exciting tomorrow.”
Luis Diaz: “It has been a great weekend so far. We haven’t had any problems. This is a good track for us. Like last year, the car feels very competitive. I think Adrian did a great job in qualifying and we are in a good position for tomorrow. We know it is going to be very tough with traffic and the Mazdas are running very strong. But if we can keep our heads down and keep working like this, it will be a good result tomorrow. I love this place – the atmosphere, the weather, the track. It’s awesome. I really enjoy it. We have a lot of people from Mexico coming to the race to support us, and I am having a great time here as always.”