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Hard Fought Class Pole for Lowe's Fernandez Racing

Luis Diaz managed the speed when he needed it to claim the LMP2 class pole and a third place overall starting position for Lowe’s Fernandez Racing in the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix. From the start of track activity, Diaz and teammate    Adrian Fernandez found themselves chasing the #16 Dyson Mazda, which posted the fastest time in testing yesterday and official practice this morning. The team continued to fine tune the #15 Lowe’s Acura and, in the final practice session before qualifying, only five-thousandths of a second separated the two prototypes.

Diaz posted a time of 1:33.0 on his second lap in qualifying around Miller Motorsports Park to take the class lead. With only three minutes remaining in qualifying and both Dyson Mazdas improving their pace, Diaz returned to the track. He managed to find another three-tenths of a second in the closing stages to secure the fourth class pole position for Lowe’s Fernandez Racing this season.

Qualifying Results (Overall):
1. de Ferran/Pagenaud – LMP1 Acura ARX 02a1:30.645 = 121.052 mph
2. Brabham/Sharp – LMP1 Acura ARX 02a1:31.381 = 120.077 mph
3. Fernandez/Diaz – LMP2 Lowe’s Acura ARX-01b1:32.749 = 118.306 mph

Luis Diaz:  “I think this was more the car than me. The team did a great job. The engineers made an adjustment before I went out for my final laps [in qualifying] and it worked great. The car felt really good. The Dyson cars are very strong and we know that there will be a hard battle between us tomorrow, but hopefully we can have a great result. I love this track and I think this team deserved podiums here the last two years. I am happy that we finally have a pole position here. It is going to be a long race and it is going to be complicated with the addition of the GT3 class. They are doing a good job in letting us past but even that is going to be hard in the race. Hopefully, we will have a good result for Lowe’s and Acura.”

Adrian Fernandez: “It has been another good day. This morning we worked on fine turning the car and it went well because the final result was good. Luis drove very well and we didn’t have to put many laps on the tires. He put the lap in at the right time. Tomorrow is going to be another day. The Mazdas are very fast on the straight, close to 10 mph faster, so we will most likely lose the lead at the start. But from there on, we just have to be smart and consistent with the car and hopefully we will have another win.“

It was an eventful start to the weekend for me personally. My flight on Thursday was cancelled so I arrived here late and right at the start of testing yesterday. I jumped in the car and I ended up pulling a muscle in my neck because I didn’t warm up enough. This is a very high g-load track, probably the most of the whole season, and you pull strong g’s turning to the left. I have been working with the doctors here and it will be okay.”

 


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