Panasonic Toyota Racing's bid for a return to the podium in the Belgium Grand Prix came unstuck at the first corner of the race at Spa-Francorchamps today. After a brilliant qualifying, Jarno Trulli lined up second with Timo Glock seventh and the team was a genuine contender for honours. But as Jarno exited the first corner, his front wing was damaged in contact with the rear of Nick Heidfeld's car, forcing him to pit for a replacement. Timo, who also started on the medium compound Bridgestone Potenza tyre, made up places and ended the first lap fourth, with the safety car on track following a midfield accident. The safety car closed up the field and meant Jarno rejoined at the back while Timo kept up the fight in the top six. He changed to soft tyres at his first pit stop but lost time when the team had to switch to the back-up fuel rig and rejoined facing a battle for points. Jarno made his second stop to also take on soft tyres but a lap later his race ended early due to a brake problem. After his final pit stop, for more soft rubber, Timo rejoined in a battle for points but ultimately missed out.
"I made a pretty strong start and was running fourth when the safety car came out so we had a good chance of points. But at my first pit stop we had trouble with the fuel rig which cost me time and positions. The crew did well to quickly change to the back-up rig but nevertheless we lost time. Clearly there was a problem with the fuel rig and we have to analyse what happened and prevent any similar problems in the future. I did my best and the car was quite quick but it wasn't to be."
"I can't say how disappointed I am with that race. I was really expecting a strong result because we were in great shape after qualifying. But at the first corner I was right behind Heidfeld and at the exit I expected him to pull away faster than he did. I'm not sure if he had a problem but I just touched him slightly and that broke the front wing. It was vibrating a lot so I had no choice but to make a pit stop. There was nothing I could do after that and in the end the team saw a problem with brake wear and decided it was safer to stop."
Tadashi Yamashina - Team Principal
"Unfortunately we couldn't make the most of the car today, despite having such a promising grid position. I am sorry for our supporters because everyone was expecting a much better result. Jarno's race was decided on the first lap and Timo had a problem with the fuel rig which prevented him scoring points. So it was a very frustrating day for us, particularly because the car is competitive and we achieved our target of a significant improvement in qualifying. We will work at the factory to solve the fuel rig issue and get more out of the car for the Italian Grand Prix."