Qualifying for the European Grand Prix got underway today at the Nürburgring - a now modern track which is welcoming this grand prix race since 1984. Many changes have been made to the ring over the years, including making overtaking easier in some corners. Panasonic Toyota Racing's drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli will look to take advantage of this during the weekend to improve on the team's position. Today's results proved strong even though Ralf did not make into the third qualifying session. Nevertheless, Jarno can be satisfied with his 7th place starting position and Ralf will line up in 10th place on the grid after having received notification from the FIA that another driver who qualified in the first ten will have an engine change.
ON THE UPTURN
Jarno Trulli overcame the vibration concern in his car to take an optimistic 7th starting place after today's qualifying session.
Jarno Trulli (Car 8, Chassis TF106/04)
Provisional Grid: 7th
Free Practice Session 3: 18th, 24 laps completed Lap time: 1m33.120s (+2.332s) Qualifying Session 1: 13, 6 laps completed Lap Time: 1m31.809s (+0.671s) Qualifying Session 2: 7th, 6 laps completed Lap Time: 1m30.733s (+0.720s) Qualifying Session 3: 7th, 14 laps completed Lap time: 1m31.419s (+1.600s)
"First of all I have to thank my team and all my mechanics, because yesterday we had a problem with the car, which we could not solve during the practice. They all worked hard through the night changing out the chassis to give me the chance to run well today and to avoid any problems. This morning went quite smooth and we built up confidence with the set-up during the session. I am really satisfied with the lap I did at the end because being seventh is a definite improvement on the performance we have had."
HEADING INTO HOMEBASE
Ralf Schumacher will start his home race holding 10th place even after having a small spin out during qualifying.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/05) Provisional Grid: 10th Free Practice Session 3: 3rd, 21 laps completed Lap time: 1m31.395s (+0.607s) Qualifying Session 1: 6th, 6 laps completed Lap Time: 1m31.470s (+0.834s) Qualifying Session 2: 11th, 7 laps completed Lap Time: 1m30.9444s (+0.931s)
"The day started out quite positive during the practice session. The qualifying was a tough fight and I actually thought I would make into the last round. The car felt good, the grip was good, and we were hoping to make more of the session. Unfortunately I had a spin in Turn 1, and even though I went out again, I lost three tenths of a second time in the new lap. Now we will have to concentrate on gaining positions during the race, which will make for a challenging day tomorrow. Yet as in we saw in Malaysia, I am confident we can work our way up into the points."
Panasonic Toyota Racing experienced mixed fortunes during today's qualifying and is now focussing on taking home valuable points during tomorrow's race.
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis "Overall today's results are encouraging for the whole team. We are quite pleased with the final outcome for Jarno, considering the concerns we had yesterday. He was really motivated and pushed hard during all three sessions. Unfortunately Ralf missed the opportunity to resume in the third qualification after having locked up the brakes in Turn 1. He will start midfield which will not cause a large concern, as we will adapt our strategy accordingly. With both cars running reliably without any issues, we are optimistic going into tomorrow."