Panasonic Toyota Racing goes into tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix with hope of a strong performance despite a disappointing result in today's qualifying. At a sweltering Sepang circuit on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the Toyota cars showed improved pace compared to last week's Bahrain Grand Prix. Unfortunately Ralf Schumacher suffered an engine failure when he was challenging strongly for the top ten so he will start from the back of the grid. Jarno Trulli was suffering from understeer, managing 13th quickest in Session 2 but he will start from 9th place due to a number of engine changes by the higher finishers. Toyota will now push hard to salvage a strong result in the race.
IN THE MELTING POT
Jarno Trulli will start the Malaysian Grand Prix from 9th place on the grid despite struggling with understeer today.
Jarno Trulli (Car 8, Chassis TF106/04)
Free Practice Session 3: 10th
Lap Time: 1m35.690s (+1.564s)
Qualifying Session 1: 13th
Lap Time: 1m35.517s (+0.981s)
Qualifying Session 2: 13th
Lap Time: 1m34.702s (+1.175s)
"I'm obviously glad that we are showing a better performance here compared to Bahrain and especially that we're starting to get some information about how the tyres work. Obviously this afternoon was a difficult one for me because I suffered from major understeer throughout the sessions. This morning during free practice I tried some different directions with my set-up for the team. That meant I was unable to prepare my set-up for qualifying and the race as I normally would. Nonetheless I hope we can race well tomorrow. We will analyse the data and I hope we can sort out the balance overnight. That way we can look forward to a better Sunday afternoon than we had in Bahrain."
WE HEARD SEPANG
This afternoon's engine failure will push Ralf Schumacher to the back of the grid for tomorrow's Malaysian GP.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/05)
Free Practice Session 3: 7th
Lap Time: 1m35.040s (+0.914s
Qualifying Session 1: 8th
Lap Time: 1m35.214s (+0.678s)
Qualifying Session 2: 10th
Lap Time: 1m34.586s (+1.059s)
"It was a pity how things turned out today because we were showing much better pace than last week. It would have been good to be in the top ten here and I'm sure we could have improved further. We didn't have any warning about the engine until it suddenly let go. That can happen – especially at a tough circuit for engines like Sepang after we put in so much mileage at Bahrain. But at least our pace is looking a lot better. We expected that but now we can be sure about that fact as we can concentrate on tomorrow. Now I'm looking forward to a good race. We're starting at the back but we had some pretty good long runs in practice so we will try our best. It will be difficult but anything is possible."
FAR EASTERN PROMISE
Toyota will push hard to gain ground in tomorrow's race safe in the knowledge that the cars are performing better.
Mike Gascoyne – Technical Director Chassis "Ultimately that was a disappointing end to qualifying, but we also showed a lot of promise. The cars today looked much more competitive than we were in Bahrain, and the level of performance we showed is pretty much what we expected from the car before the season started. We made the tyre work better than in Bahrain by a combination of changes we made and the conditions here. Unfortunately Ralf's engine failure means that he couldn't improve after one lap of the second session. Jarno lost some set-up time this morning so we have to accept the blame for him not being in the top ten. Despite the results, it was very good to show that when we have the tyre working we have a competitive package. We now have to make sure we do that 100 percent of the time. Tomorrow we have to look for a strong performance and aim to pick up points."