Panasonic Toyota Racing heads into Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix with two cars in the top ten of the grid following today's hour of qualifying. On another sunny day at Imola, Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher both had strong sessions of morning practice and that progress continued into the afternoon when both drivers took part in Qualifying Session 3 for the first time in 2006. Both put in good laps during the final 20-minute shoot-out, but Jarno was unfortunate to hit traffic on his quickest run. Ralf will line up in 6th on the grid while Jarno will start in 9th place. Ralf made the podium in Australia and both drivers will now look for another strong position in tomorrow's race.
Ralf Schumacher will look for another good result in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix after qualifying on the third row.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/05) PROVISIONAL GRID: 6th Free Practice Session 3: 6th Lap Time: 1m24.667s (+0.880s)
Qualifying Session 1: 3rd
Lap Time: 1m24.370s (+0.834s)
Qualifying Session 2: 3rd
Lap Time: 1m23.565s (+0.986s)
Qualifying Session 3: 6th
Lap Time: 1m23.772s (+0.977s)
"We achieved more than we expected today, but I am still not satisfied because I did not do a perfect lap in the traffic at the end of the session. That's a pity because the extra tenth of a second to reach the second row would have been easy to find. Still, this is a very good result and both Jarno and I have done our best. Last year I struggled in qualifying but this car and tyre combination is working better for me. Now we must aim for the points tomorrow. We are not very far away from the top teams and we will do our best to move further forward, but it is very difficult to overtake here. Hopefully we can have our usual good pit stops and then we can see where we end up."
HOME IN ON SUCCESS
Jarno Trulli heads into his home race tomorrow in good shape, holding 9th place after being held up in qualifying.
Jarno Trulli (Car 8, Chassis TF106/04)
PROVISIONAL GRID: 9th
Free Practice Session 3: 17th
Lap Time: 1m25.806s (+2.019s)
Qualifying Session 1: 5th
Lap Time: 1m24.446s (+0.910s)
Qualifying Session 2: 6th
Lap Time: 1m23.727s (+1.143s)
Qualifying Session 3: 9th
Lap Time: 1m24.172s (+1.377s)
"It was a good afternoon's work for us but it would have been even better if I hadn't hit traffic on my quickest lap in Session 3. Unfortunately on my last run I was behind Michael Schumacher who didn't let me by when he was on a slow lap. He just came out of the pits and held me up all the way around his out lap, which I don't think was fair. Up to that point the sessions had gone well. The car handled well throughout the afternoon and that gives me a lot of confidence for the race. Ralf's podium in Australia shows that we can compete at the front so the atmosphere in the team is good. This race will give us another chance to check how our form is improving. I certainly hope to enjoy better fortune tomorrow than I have had in the first few races."
Panasonic Toyota Racing is on course for another strong result from tomorrow's race near the Italian city of Bologna.
Dieter Gass - Chief Engineer Race and Test "This is the first time this year that we have had both cars actually running in the last session of qualifying so that was a good day for us. Both drivers performed well throughout the afternoon and the first two sessions went well even though it was very tight for who qualified from Session 2. We're happy with Ralf's eventual qualifying position - he was very close to the second row but 6th is still a good performance. We are disappointed about what happened to Jarno because he lost a lot of time on his quick lap. Looking to tomorrow we are happy with the tyres we have here - the performance and grip level was good - and we're happy with the choice we have made for the race and our strategy is looking good. We are still a challenger in F1 and we will now be fighting for a very strong finishing position tomorrow."