Fernandez quits Champ Cars Massive blow for new organisers OWRS as it struggles for numbers Fernandez was thought to be a Champ Car definite, but has now pulled out The Mexican has instead nailed his colours to IRL's mast Efforts to rebuild the Champ Car World Series were dealt a massive blow when team owner/driver Adrian Fernandez confirmed on Thursday that he is to quit the series and race full-time in the rival IRL IndyCar Series. Team Rahal is also expected to follow suit. Just 48 hours after appearing at Champ Car's media tour in Long Beach, Fernandez told SPEEDTV.com he was leaving his racing home since 1993 because he didn't feel comfortable with the future of Champ Cars. And SPEEDTV.com has also learned that three-time CART champ Bobby Rahal is expected to move Michel Jourdain to Tony George's all-oval series as well. "We're still in CART [Champ Car], as we speak, but obviously this was a ground-shaking announcement today by Adrian and it causes everyone to reassess where they are," said Rahal, who fields a Champ Car for Mexico's Michel Jourdain and an IRL effort for Buddy Rice. "I still think where you go depends on what your sponsors want." Asked about Jourdain's sponsor, Gigante, Rahal replied: "They are very concerned. Adrian is an opinion leader in Mexico and for him to do this speaks volumes." As for his own preference, the 1986 Indy winner said: "I'm tired of the battle and I'm tired of seeing NASCAR pull away, although full credit to them. They took advantage of the situation. But I remember the glory days of Champ Car and I want to go back there." If Rahal joins Fernandez, it appears almost impossible that the new owners of Champ Car would be able to field enough cars for the 2004 season - scheduled to kick off next month in Long Beach. Fernandez said his decision was made after leaving Long Beach earlier this week. "I have to look out for the best interests of Fernandez Racing, and all our sponsors, and at Long Beach I just didn't see security for the future," said Fernandez, who will make his IRL debut next week in his hometown of Phoenix. "There were not enough guarantees to know my team would be here at the end of the year. I could only count 13 confirmed cars and that's not enough Adrian Fernandez "I just didn't have any confidence and I had to make a move. I mean, I love Champ Car and I made my name in this series, and this is very difficult. But I've got to look out for my team." The 40-year-old veteran from Mexico City already has one Honda-powered Dallara in the IRL with rookie Kosuke Matsuura. "It was tough to build this team and my partner Tom Anderson and I have put our soul into this," added Fernandez, a seven-time Champ Car race winner. "I believe in what Tony George is doing and it looks like the IRL is growing. I'm excited about going to Indianapolis again and plus, Tony is going to get back to road courses so I'm very optimistic about the future." Fernandez, whose racing success has made him a national hero in Mexico, was instrumental in helping Champ Car get races in Monterrey and Mexico City. The latter event drew nearly 300,000 people in 2003. "I'm going to miss racing in Mexico, especially Mexico City, and some of our sponsors are tied to that race so I hope Champ Car has a good event," he said. Champ Car president Dick Eidswick issued a statement saying: "We are disappointed to hear of Adrian Fernandez retirement from the Champ Car World Series. He has been a top contender and a favourite among our strong Mexican fan base. We wish him the best of luck." But this is devastating news for a series scrambling to come up with cars. Paul Gentilozzi has maintained there will be 18 cars at Long Beach. "I could only count 13 confirmed and that's not enough," said Fernandez. "So I did what I had to guarantee the continuity of Fernandez Racing."