IndyCar »

Rio: Fernandez wins Rio's game of Tag.

Adrian Fernandez inherited victory in the Rio 200, but only after the weekend's rookie sensation Alex Tagliani had spun away a late race lead.

Mexican Fernandez was in the right place at the right time when Tagliani overcooked it on a restart with ten laps to run, causing an accident which also involved Kenny Brack and Dario Franchitti.

The Canadian rookie seemingly had the race in his pocket for most of the afternoon, controlling the race from the start and only losing out as the pit-stops reshuffled the pack. He had raced away with Juan Montoya at the original green flag, all the time holding the Colombian back with a mixture of aggression and ability. He maintained a fuel pattern that allowed him to stay out while the others pitted for a second time, and was in the right place to re-assume control when makeshift replacement Kenny Brack stalled in the pits.

Then a wheel balance problem - caused either by a missing weight or a poor set of tyres - saw him lose it on the penultimate restart. A cloud of tyre smoke in turn one heralded a scramble not only for places, but also survival, in his wake, with Brack and Franchitti coming off worst. For Tagliani, though, it was almost the saddest end to a brilliant afternoon.

Fernandez was now best placed to benefit from the leader's misfortune, scything through the smoke and holding off the equally attentive Jimmy Vasser to assume top spot through the protracted yellow flag period.

The Mexican had climbed to seventh by the second round of stops, and made up places as his Patrick Racing crew went to work, emerging ahead of Brack in fifth spot. As the rest of the field filed in for fuel, Fernandez took up station behind Tagliani's Player's Reynard, looking good for a podium finish despite having started down in 16th position, and was in the right place to emerge from the Canadian's smokescreen in front.

Fernandez had every reason to thank his pit crew for their help in achieving his sixth career Champcar victory. They had not had to make a pit-stop yet this season, as mechanical problems had stopped the Mexican early in the previous two races, but performed faultlessly on both occasions in Brazil.

“I paid the price for not qualifying well, but I made a few passes and we had great pit stops,” the victor admitted, “ We didn't put on tyres at the last pit stop, and [the ones on the car] had 80 laps on them at the end. I just beat Jimmy out of the pits by a hair. That's what did it for us.”

Vasser and championship leader Paul Tracy, in third place, had been in contention throughout the race, and were frustrated not to be given a proper shot at the new leader when Tagliani spun again as the yellows he had caused were withdrawn for a dash to the line.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Bourdais with his son after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
The red flag is waived halting attempts to start Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais gets a congratulatory hug from team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven after winning Race 1 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway receives the winner`s trophy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates with the Ed Carpenter Racing team after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Start of the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.