Panasonic Toyota Racing will have a lot of work to do in tomorrow's Turkish Grand Prix after a mixed afternoon's work during qualifying at the Istanbul Park circuit. There were more clouds in the sky than for yesterday's practice sessions, but track temperatures nonetheless continued to approach 50 degrees Celsius. Ralf Schumacher had a good hour of qualifying and comfortably made it through Q1 and Q2 before recording the 5th fastest time of an exciting final shoot-out. Unfortunately Ralf suffered a ten-place penalty because the team changed his engine as a precaution last night so he will line up in 15th place tomorrow. Jarno battled understeer and failed to make it through Q2, setting the 13th fastest time. Nonetheless he is confident of making ground from his 12th place on the grid. Despite the difficult start to the weekend, Toyota will now push hard as it bids to score a strong result in Sunday's race.
Jarno Trulli (Car 8, Chassis TF106/08B)
PROVISIONAL GRID: 12th
Free Practice Session 3: 11th, 17 laps
Lap Time: 1m28.861s (+1.658s)
Q1: 14th, 6 laps
Lap Time: 1m28.549s (+1.243s)
Q2: 13th, 6 laps
Lap Time: 1m27.973s (+2.123s)
"That was a difficult day's work for me. I hoped to make it into Q3 but it was hard to find a good balance today. Still, I remain confident for the race because I have made a conservative tyre choice and I was quick and consistent both this morning and yesterday. I'm thinking more about the race than qualifying and I hope that risk will pay off tomorrow. It will still be a hard race and the start will be crucial here because the first corner is downhill and very tight. But if we can make it through unscathed then we should have a good chance to progress. We have been steadily getting more competitive and edging closer to the top teams so if we can stay reliable I believe with the race pace we have we can do well and challenge for a strong finish."
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/10B) PROVISIONAL GRID: 15th Free Practice Session 3: 17th, 18 laps Lap Time: 1m29.374s (+2.171s)
Q1: 3rd, 6 laps
Lap Time: 1m27.668s (+0.362s)
Q2: 5th, 3 laps
Lap Time: 1m27.062s (+1.212s)
Q3: 5th, 11 laps
Lap Time: 1m27.569s (+0.662s)
"Our objective was to make the top five in qualifying so that was a good session for us. The car felt good and we did as well as we could have expected. It's obviously a pity to drop back ten places due to our precautionary engine change. Given that penalty we are on a very good strategy and I believe we are in a strong position to gain ground tomorrow. We've been competitive all weekend so we are confident with our pace and it is possible to overtake here. Last year I had a busy race and I expect more of the same tomorrow. Our target is to make the points with both cars and I believe it is possible. If we can make a good start then we will be in good shape."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis "In terms of our grid position for tomorrow that is obviously one of our lowest results of the season but we understand the reasons for that. We changed Ralf's engine as a precaution yesterday evening, preferring to accept the ten-place penalty rather than risk a failure this weekend. So that meant we had to adapt his strategy accordingly. He did well to go fifth quickest in Q3 but he will start 15th tomorrow. We have a different strategy for Jarno, who had a different day. He struggled for grip, and that is why he missed out on the top ten. Still, this is a circuit where we can hope to make up ground in the race. We knew that this would be a hard track for tyres but it is clear that the Bridgestone tyres we have are well suited to its demands. We will be starting lower down the grid than we expected but we remain confident that our strategy can bring both cars home in the points tomorrow."