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Fernandez sets fast test time
Adrian Fernandez turned in the fastest lap in Thursday’s two-hour test for the Monterey Sports Car Championships, a blistering session that saw the top nine cars setting times under the existing qualifying record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Fernandez’s lap of 1:11.677 led the way around the 2.238, 11-turn circuit in the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura-powered Lola. His time was more than two seconds better than Stefan Johansson’s pole time last year of 1:13.731 and 0.472 seconds better than Penske Racing’s Sascha Maassen on Thursday.

“This is a track that is good for this car,” Fernandez said. “It’s really smooth and the conditions make it even better. The track has changed a lot since we were here last (in 2006). But you still have to pay attention to things, especially in the darkness. But right now things are looking good.”

Teammate Luis Diaz held the overall top spot for a good portion of the session before the two Penske Porsche RS Spyders jumped to the top near the end. Romain Dumas’ lap of 1:12.222 looked like it would hold up through the checkered flag but Maassen put forth his lap with less than five minutes to go, and Fernandez immediately followed with his last flying lap.

The top four cars were LMP2 entries with the Andretti Green Racing Acura of Bryan Herta and Tony Kanaan fourth. Next was Audi’s Allan McNish at 1:12.783 for the quickest time in LMP1. McNish will drive the No. 1 Audi R10 TDI with Dindo Capello as the pairing goes for its second consecutive victory to close the season and second win in Monterey in a row.

The sister Audi of Marco Werner and Mike Rockenfeller was second in P1 and ninth overall at 1:12.854. The lighter, more nimble P2 cars were having an easier time through the slower-speed sections of the circuit, allowing them to outpace the bigger, more powerful P1s.

Jan Magnussen went quickest in GT1 for Corvette Racing at 1:20.644 in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R he will share with Johnny O’Connell. The duo is looking for its third GT1 victory in four races to close the season. Teammates Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin already have clinched their third straight class championship and were 0.296 seconds behind Magnussen.

With the GT2 championship still in play, Risi Competizione’s Jaime Melo set the fastest time in class with a 1:23.819 in the team’s No. 62 Ferrari F430 GT. Melo and Mika Salo hold a 22-point lead over the Flying Lizard duo of Johannes van Overbeek and Jörg Bergmeister, who was third-fastest in class Thursday at 1:24.091. Salo and Melo need to complete 70 percent of the race Saturday and finish in the top-10 to take the championship.

Second in class Thursday was Wolf Henzler in the No. 71 Tafel Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at 1:23.970. He will split time with Dominik Farnbacher, who is making his first start at Laguna Seca.

The final round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The four-hour race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, October 20. SPEED will air the race live from 5:30 to 10 p.m. ET. Live coverage from American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing and Scoring will be available at americanlemans.com. ALMS PR
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