Adrian Fernandez found himself relegated to his back-up Lola-Ford very early on during the first day of practice and qualifying for Monday's inaugural London Champ Car Trophy at Brands Hatch, but still managed to qualify inside the top ten around the twisty 1.2-mile Indy circuit.

The single-car qualifying order was based on practice times from the two morning sessions, where Fernandez was ninth fastest on the combined charts after he went off course in the first practice and hit the tyre barrier going into Turn Five (McLaren). Fernandez was not injured, but substantial damage to the rear of the primary #51 machine will leave him without a backup car for the rest of the weekend.

"We started good and were P1 for awhile this morning," said a rather philosophical Fernandez. "Unfortunately, I was using too much of the curb in Clearways and when I put more of the car on the curb, basically that was not forgiving for the car and I lost it. It was a shame because the car was running pretty good and now that car is not available for this weekend.

"We had to go to the T-car and we made some changes the wrong way in terms of the setup, so we just have to regroup and I think we will have a good car. The guys had to rush out pretty quickly [for qualifying] because we gave them a lot of changes. Obviously that was not what we expected.

"At the end of the second session in the morning we were trying to do a qualifying run and we just really didn't have the momentum to do it. There was too much traffic and that left us with a little bit of a guessing game this afternoon."

On a brighter note, Fernandez was happy to be back in Britain, where he based his racing activities for several years during the late 1980's. "It's fantastic to be back at Brands," he said. "It's a good feeling -- a lot of old friends here and it is really fast compared to what it used to be. The weather has been normal for here and you just have to pay attention to it, especially on cold tires."