Adrian Fernandez looked poised for victory in Sunday's Grand Prix Americas in Miami before Bruno Junqueira's rash passing attempt for the lead cost him a full lap and any chance of a top finish.

Fernandez, who started on pole for the 135-lap race around Miami's 1.15-mile Bayfront Park street circuit, led 88 laps total after a brilliant passing manoeuvre on Junqueira to retake the lead at the start of lap two.

Holding off the Brazilian Newman-Haas Racing driver around every one of Miami's tight turns for nearly 90 laps, Junqueira was forced to make a very late lunge on the Tecate/Telmex/Quaker State sponsored Lola as the two leaders were lapping Tiago Monteiro. Junqueira hit Fernandez from behind as the pair worked through turn two on lap 93 and all three cars spun to a halt. Fernandez and Junqueira were eventually restarted with the Mexican driver one lap down and the Brazilian born Championship contender four adrift. With few opportunities to make up his lost ground Fernandez eventually crossed the line in eighth position with only the small consolation of setting fastest lap.

"It was just a bad mistake on Bruno's part," stated a philosophical Fernandez. "It cost him big time and cost me big time. That was unfortunate because we both were having a great race. It was a hard race physically and we were pushing hard. On our side, we had a great car, great pit stops - everything was perfect. For the conditions, with the weather and the humidity, it was really physically hard; one of the hardest races I can remember. It's unfortunate that the rewards are not there at the end of the day for the perfect job that everybody did.

"Other than the result, the weekend in general was good for us heading into Mexico City. We had an extremely good car and this will really help us. The morale on the team is good even though we had a bad result. We know we can do it. I haven't been in this situation for a long time and that's why it is hard not to get the result."

"It was just one of those days where you did everything right and it still didn't work out," added Fernandez Racing co-owner and managing director Tom Anderson. "Adrian had a fantastic drive. The car was good - the engineering department did a fantastic job with the Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex car. The crew had great pit stops. It was a beautiful day until the driver behind us got a little impatient and threw a lot of it away for not only himself but us as well. It's just unfortunate, but fortunately no one was injured. A few prides were broken but sometimes that's racing. It just wasn't our day."

 

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