Panasonic Toyota Racing made a positive start to preparations for the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the 2009 season, at Interlagos in Sao Paulo today. Jarno Trulli, after his second place in the Japanese Grand Prix, was joined by Kamui Kobayashi, deputising for Timo Glock who injured his back at Suzuka. After an installation lap to begin first practice, Kamui left the garage 22 minutes in to complete his first serious laps of Interlagos. His first task was to learn the track having only previously experienced it in video games and on a scooter. He consistently improved his lap times while Jarno evaluated aerodynamic settings until a half-hour rain interruption. Both used the medium compound Bridgestone Potenza tyres throughout and, despite late drizzle, completed a trouble-free session. In afternoon practice they again evaluated set-up changes and carried out comparison runs between the super soft and medium compound tyres while Kamui also continued to familiarise himself with race weekend procedures. Despite grey clouds, the session stayed dry until the last 20 minutes, with Kamui performing commendably and Jarno also showing strong potential for the rest of the weekend.
"Everything went well today and we did our usual Friday testing work. We had some rain in both sessions which makes things a bit harder than normal and particularly in the morning there wasn't much grip. But even though the weather disrupted things for us, we still went through quite a few set-up changes and it feels like we are moving in the right direction.The car seems pretty good on this track and I had no major problems so I hope we can continue this positive progress for the rest of the weekend. After the great result last time in Suzuka I am really motivated to keep up the momentum and I am optimistic we can do that."
"It was a a nice experience to be starting a weekend as a Grand Prix driver for the first time. It was also my first time driving in Brazil; I found that the track is good fun for a driver and also very challenging. Our work went well; just the weather wasn't perfect with the showers which meant the track surface was not consistent. That made it difficult to properly judge the set-up and also to fully learn each corner because the conditions were changing during the sessions. In the end I found a good rhythm and the car felt competitive so it was a good day for me. There are still things we can improve and I'll be working hard with my engineers to prepare properly for my first Formula 1 qualifying sessions. I'm really looking forward to it and I'm confident."
Dieter Gass, Chief Engineer Race and Test "Overall it has been quite a good start to the weekend for us despite the difficult conditions all day. The drizzle in both sessions was not ideal but nevertheless we did pretty much all the work we wanted to; we just had to adapt the programme a bit to account for the weather. The two tyre compounds behaved largely as we expected, with no problems although the option proved to be a little better than we thought over a long run. Especially considering the difficult track conditions, Kamui's performance is even more impressive on a track he hadn't driven before today. We can only be pleased with how he performed. As usual we now have to look carefully at the data and fine-tune the set-up to get the most out of the car for the rest of the weekend."
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