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Champ Car World Series: Grand Prix of Americas

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Grand Prix Americas

Champ Car World Series: Grand Prix of Americas

Adrian Fernandez
Bruno Junqueira
Oriol Servia
September 27, 2003


MIAMI, FLORIDA

ERIK MAUK: Welcome to our qualifying press conference Grand Prix Americas presented by sportsbook.com. We are joined by two of our top three qualifiers for tomorrow's event. My name is Erik Mauk. We'll start with the third place driver on tomorrow's starting grid, Oriol Servia, driver of the No. 20 Visteon/Patrick Racing Ford Cosworth, with the second best time of the day with a lap of 44.289 seconds, 93.477 miles per hour, starts in the Top 3 for the third consecutive event and will be looking for his third consecutive podium. Tell us about your run.

ORIOL SERVIA: Thank you. I'm very upset -- I really wanted that. I was fastest Monday and I think Friday I was fastest for whatever reason in Denver and still don't have a flag. I think he deserves the flag and the orange colors, that's what we need. We still have the race tomorrow to go to try and get it. But the important thing was to have a good qualifying here. We all know this place, it's relative tough to overtake and improve from where you start. We are not in a bad spot. It's a change that really opened for tomorrow, we have 220-lap (ph) maximum, two stops, so anything can happen, a lot more than what we think. We will see if we can still have a good shot to win this race tomorrow. And I'm really happy with how things have been working, last race has been fantastic, Steve has been giving me a great car. Not only that, we are able to improve it. Yesterday it was okay but today was definitely better. But apart from that, I'm happy. I think I did a very good lap. I was happy with myself, my performance. It was a challenging play because there are a couple of problems that will make our life difficult. Like Turn One is a little bit bumpy and easily you can flat-foot your tires very easily. So we have to take care of that. Apart from that, I am just happy, and Adrian on his lap, I think he did an outstanding job to beat me. So I am happy for him.

ERIK MAUK: Very, very warm today. How much different was the track today from what you had to work with yesterday?

ORIOL SERVIA: It was a lot better, a lot better. You could see some black marks on the track. Yesterday we went in qualifying, at least me -- I was the fifth car out but there was no markup at all. It's going to be really hard. I live here and I go -- Bruno, he goes and trains at 7:00 am -- I go at 11:00 or noon. I am used to running in the hot weather like that.

ERIK MAUK: Second place on the grid by virtue of his Friday performance is the driver of the No. 1 PacifiCare/Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, Bruno Junqueira, who takes the second spot after leading Friday qualifying, 44.521 second, 92.990 miles per hour. He starts in the second row --

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: The morning session, I was really confident that we could repeat yesterday's performance. The first lap, the second lap I approached a little bit harder. I knew I just had to push a little bit more. Maybe I went a little bit over the top. I really pushed hard opponent last lap. I took Turn One very good, Turn Two very, very fast. When I came to Turn Three and Four, brake through the front, just lock a little bit, and the front of the car went a little bit towards the left side; and my right went close to the wall, I broke to the left of the inside wall and it's straight on the wall -- the clash. A little bit of frustration for me, a second crash on the weekend, and I don't think there should be any crash. It was my last opportunity to get the pole and an extra point. I think I had a very good car and I didn't pull the lap. Maybe I push too hard to get the pole, I guess I didn't know to go that hard. But that's the way it is. I made a mistake today but I hope -- tomorrow is very important for me on the points, when the race is starting, I'm like fifth or sixth and that is an opportunity that I can -- to finish in front of him and get closer on the championship.

ERIK MAUK: Your first turn on the front row is obviously a different first turn than you had to deal with last year. How do you face that tomorrow?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: For sure, going on the outside is going to be really difficult. But I hope I can keep the second position -- inaudible --

ERIK MAUK: Our pole sitter is the driver of the No. 51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex, Adrian Fernandez, his first pole of the year with a lap of 44.253 seconds, 93.553 miles per hour, his first pole since taking the top qualifying spot at Milwaukee last season and fourth in his career. Adrian, congratulations, how does it feel to be on the pole today.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: It feels fantastic, but I train in the morning and I train in the afternoon -- inaudible -- (Laughter). Actually we thought it was coming here -- and everything work out. Now the guys they did a fantastic job on the car, just quick, came out super fast in the rain. After this morning, actually we had some old tires this morning. I didn't manage to put a time on my inside, but I knew he had won his lap on his side. So, I felt pretty comfortable. We made changes with the new tires -- I didn't put a time on it. When you are going back to that change on the car -- inaudible -- coming out of the last corner is still an issue. It's one of those things that I came into my last lap, and I knew the time that he had done, so I had to push a little bit further. The grid, I went right past it, I wanted to take it flat-out. The harder you get, the more launch you get. In general, it was -- the qualifying, the tires came the way we wanted to come so it was pretty good.

ERIK MAUK: As Adrian said, the CART stewards and CART officials worked on that bunk coming out of the final turn and actually ended up breaking the grinder, they were going at it so hard. They are going to go out tonight to see if they can take more off of that. How do you approach tomorrow? They are going to try to get you out of the way as quick as they can.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: I think qualifying pole, especially on tracks like this -- it will be very important, especially when they are so tight. I just hope that there is not too many yellows where everybody has to come bunched out in the yellow because it's so tight here. It feels tighter than Long Beach. People can get hurt because we are so on top of each other. They are on top of me, and every time I lead, you really have to be careful because the rear of the car swoops too much. But as long as we have good, clean pit stops, I think the car looks good enough to win the race tomorrow.

Q. How bad is your car, what kind of damage is it? Will you use that one or is there a back up?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Front suspension, right and left and the front wing is not really bad damage. But I have a very good team and they are going to fix it. They are going to be ready for tomorrow.

Q. You've had can a couple of podiums and quite a few over ten finishes, too. How rewarding is this for to you run so well, particularly heading into Mexico?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: It feels very good. The problem is I think for many of these races to win the championship, the problem has been we haven't been able to have a stable -- that has not worked. We've taken a much simpler approach since a few races ago and everything is working really well. So I think -- we have been complete on pit stops and the car is running really well. I have been on other teams, and I think our team is up there. Unfortunately when you don't find that damage, it's too late to be where you are and frustration -- inaudible -- but some changes, everything is working -- Denver, was just a few bad laps. After I came out -- on the first day and I think we had a shot at qualifying, also. If I could have had a chance it was raining. Just little things that happen like that, sometimes has put us back. But very proud of my guys. The important thing is that the results are coming, maybe the consistency is still not there but I think we are getting close -- inaudible --

ERIK MAUK: Two last year, one this year.

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: We have been so close to winning races, and for some reason things don't happen. There's so many elements. You can be in the best situation but for some reason things were not working and now he's winning races and all that. All you have to do is just keep working and try to massage a little bit of things and the results will come.

Q. You have the best chance to win a race -- how do you handle your race tomorrow?

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA: Actually I have my plus and minus -- we kind of know each other. I don't know it doesn't change anything for me. I'm out there, obviously -- the championship the better but as everybody knows a win is a win. I just have to do a little bit more. I still want to win because they are going to get more points obviously but at the end of the day, you know, it doesn't make a difference if Paul is behind. He still needs the points. I don't know what can I say, you should ask him. I will definitely do the best that I can and just keep pushing all the way.

Q. Adrian, Todd Anderson was in Portland and he is here in weekend. Is it a requirement that he comes to the races?

ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: I haven't spoken to him all weekend. I haven't seen him -- inaudible -- but I can focus on driving and that. Also, I know John is here helping us also this weekend. It's something that sometimes you don't think it can work but it's working and I'm very proud of that.

ERIK MAUK: Thank you, gentlemen.



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