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SPEEDTV.com: Fernandez Pleased With Return To Lola-Aston Martin

Courtesy of SPEEDTV.com

Written by: John Dagys

http://bit.ly/piqEIy 

 

To say Aston Martin Racing has been through a tough year might be considered an understatement.

 

After starting the international sportscar season off with high hopes in that its all-new AMR-One would possibly take the fight to the factory diesels in LMP1, the British squad never even came close, yet alone being able to complete a full endurance race with its straight-six powered prototype.

 

A troubled debut, billed as a public test, at the Le Mans Series season-opening Six Hours of le Castellet, followed by an early end to its Le Mans Test Day due to engine issues and the subsequent withdrawal from the Spa 1000km didn’t leave high hopes for success in the car’s first outing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

 

As it turned out, both AMR-Ones failed to get past the first hour in the twice-around-the-clock French classic, which forced the David Richards-owned organization to have a rethink of their factory prototype effort.

 

“It’s been a tough year, one of the toughest years I can remember in my 30-year career,” said AMR’s Adrian Fernandez. “Sometimes things like this happen. When the good times come, that’s when you appreciate it.”

 

After skipping July’s Six Hours of Imola, the veteran open-wheel and sportscar ace, along with fellow Aston Martin Racing drivers Christian Klien and Harold Primat, are back behind the wheel of a prototype in this weekend’s Six Hours of Silverstone.

 

But instead of the AMR-One, which currently remains under company review, Prodrive has wheeled out its faithful Lola-Aston Martin, which returns to factory competition for the first time since last year’s Silverstone race.

 

For Fernandez, who said he drove more miles in a recent two-day shakedown test of the V12-powered coupe than the entire year with the AMR-One, the ILMC/LMS round will mark the first of three races in the next four weeks in what he hopes will help erase the disappointing memories of the season thus far.

 

“Going back to this car, it’s obviously a car we know,” Fernandez said. “We feel comfortable. The car was very reliable and it’s a beautiful-sounding car.

 

“But I wish we had a little bit more time here to work on the car. Because we haven’t worked on it since last year, really. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. I’m looking forward to this race and coming back to America at [Mazda Raceway] Laguna Seca and Petit Le Mans where all my friends and our fans are.”

 

With Fernandez and Primat likely to be battling for top overall honors next weekend in Monterey, getting through Sunday’s six-hour enduro, the first race with slightly revised prototype regulations, will be crucial for success later in the month.

 

“The rules have changed, like the thicker plank we have,” Fernandez said. “You can’t do anything to this car because it’s grandfathered. There’s not much we could do. On paper, we shouldn’t be more competitive than we were last year. Hopefully we can find a setup that can suit the car and be strong.”

 

John Dagys is SPEED.com’s Sportscar Racing Reporter, focusing on all major domestic and international championships. You can follow him on Twitter @johndagys or email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 


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