The Fernandez Racing Lola team of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz finished fifth in class and seventh overall in the Utah Grand Prix, on Saturday night, after a pair of incidents dropped the duo from a strong run for a podium position.

Diaz, who started the race in third, fell to seventh on a wild start that completely reshuffled the front grid order. Diaz rebounded and, after several passes to work his way back to the front, was able to overtake the fellow Acura-powered car of Marino Franchitti on Lap 13 for the LMP2 class lead and third-place overall.

Diaz, running second overall, turned the controls of the Lola-Acura over to Adrian Fernandez after 70 minutes into the 2-hour 45-minute race during a green flag pit stop. Fernandez resumed in seventh position overall, fifth in class. He quickly worked his way up to second in class and fourth overall. It was after Fernandez’s second scheduled pit stop for fuel and tires that the tables turned. With 40 minutes remaining, Fernandez had to return to the pits to replace a right rear tire after he was hit while passing a Ferrari GT car. He returned to the track fifth in class and seventh overall. With only five minutes remaining, Fernandez again fell victim to contact with a major off after being hit by a Porsche GT car. He managed the lengthy trip back to pit lane with the team ending the day five laps down.

Race Results (Overall)

Pos Cl Driver Car Laps
1. P2 Maassen/Briscoe Porsche RS Spyder 66
2. P1 Capello/McNish Audi AG/R10/TDI 66
3. P2 Dumas/Bernhard Porsche RS Spyder 66
4. P2 Leitzinger/Wallace Porsche RS Spyder 66
5. P2 Dyson/Smith Porsche RS Spyder 66
6. P1 Pirro/Werner Audi AG/R10/TDI 66
7. P2 Diaz/Fernandez Lola/B06-43/Acura 61
8. GT1 Gavin/Beretta Corvette C6.R 61
9. GT1 Magnussen/O'Connell Corvette C6.R 61
10. P1 Berry/Field/Field Creation/CA06H/Judd 60
11. GT2 Enge/Turner Ferrari 430GT 59
12. GT2 Bergmeister/van Overbeek Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 58
13. GT2 Henzler/Liddell Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 58
14. GT2 Jonsson/Helary Ferrari 430GT Berlinetta 58
15. GT2 Mediani/Pruitt/Aguas Ferrari 430 GT 58
16. GT2 Milner/Kelleners Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 58
17. P1 Lewis/Willman Creation CA06H-Judd 58
18. GT2 Pechnik/Neiman Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 57
19. GT2 Tafel/Farnbacher Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 57
20. GT2 Pappas/Borcheller Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 55
21. P2 Johansson/Brabham/Dayton Acura/ARX-01a 47
22. P2 Devlin/Bach Lola/B07-40/Mazda 44
23. GT2 Salo/Melo Ferrari 430GT Berlinetta 35
24. GT2 Auberlen/Hand Panoz Esperante GTLM 23
25. P2 Franchitti/Herta Acura/ARX-01a 20
26. GT2 Maxwell/Sellers Panoz Esperante GTLM 3

Adrian Fernandez, #15 Lowe’s Acura Lola

“It was just one of those days. The two GT cars I was passing never saw me. The Ferrari hit me in my right rear when I was passing him. I’m sure he didn’t see me. With the Porsche GT, I was completely beside him and he just never saw me. I wouldn’t have done anything differently. It was one of those things. We just had no luck. We had a strong car, a car that I think was strong enough to win the race. Unfortunately everything went wrong in that respect.”

Luis Diaz, #15 Lowe’s Acura Lola

“For me, it really was a tough day. At the start, I think a lot of people jumped before the green flag. I lost quite a few positions but our car was very good and I was able to fight. I went from seventh to second overall. I was able to pass the two Penske Porsches, Marino [Franchitti], Stefan [Johansson], [Chris] Dyson. I was very confident that we would have a good result. Unfortunately for us, some times the races are like this. The good thing about this weekend was that the team showed our potential once again. We still have seven races left that we can win, and I am very confident that we are going to win soon. We showed it today. Adrian was very quick at the end even with the car damaged. These races are very complicated and that’s why when you win, it means so much. We will focus now on the second half of the season and I think we will be very strong.”
The Loew's Lola-Acura B06 leads one of the Audis.
(Picture americanlemans.com)
The start of the race and the Lola Mazda B07 makes a great start.
(Picture americanlemans.com)