Panasonic Toyota Racing came away with mixed results from today's qualifying session for the US Grand Prix. Under hot and sunny skies at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ralf Schumacher enjoyed a good afternoon's work and made it into Session 3, taking 8th place in the final shoot-out. Jarno Trulli was less fortunate, suffering a problem with the central element of his rear suspension on his first flying lap. There was not enough time to change the part before the end of Session 1 so he will have it all to do from 20th on tomorrow's grid. Nonetheless Toyota will now look to get the best possible result from both cars in the race around this historic American venue.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 7, Chassis TF106/07B) PROVISIONAL GRID: 8th Free Practice Session 3: 15th Lap Time: 1m13.101s (+2.341s)
Qualifying Session 1: 3rd
Lap Time: 1m11.879s (+0.691s)
Qualifying Session 2: 5th
Lap Time: 1m11.673s (+1.037s)
Qualifying Session 3: 8th
Lap Time: 1m12.795s (+1.963s)
"In general it was a pain-free qualifying session for me. We had a very good car in the first two sessions today and we were able to push well without problems. In Session 3 we seemed to struggle a bit more with grip and balance. That made it hard to get the best out of the car on a fast lap. As a result I wasn't happy with my last run and I think I could have done slightly better. But we have still made it to P8 which is an achievement and a reasonable place to start tomorrow. Hopefully we can bring a good result home in the race."
Jarno Trulli (Car 8, Chassis TF106/08B)
PROVISIONAL GRID: 20th
Free Practice Session 3: 14th
Lap Time: 1m13.091s (+2.331s)
Qualifying Session 1: 20th
Lap Time: 1m13.787s (+2.699s)
"Unfortunately that was a short session for me today because we suffered a problem with our rear suspension on my first flying lap. We were on old tyres and the problem did not affect my lap time too much but it would have been too risky to go out again. I had to visit the weighbridge before the team could start changing the rear central element and we just didn't have enough time to complete the change before the end of Session 1. By then I was outside the top 16 so that was the end of my afternoon. It is a particular pity because both yesterday and this morning the car felt strong and we were in good shape to challenge in qualifying. Now we are in the worst possible place for tomorrow's race but we will try our best to make up ground."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis "Again today we struggled to have two cars running at the same time on the track. Jarno had a problem with the central element of his rear suspension which we could not fix during Q1 so that was it for him. Ralf's pace was very good and he made the top ten without any issues. The problem Ralf had yesterday with vibrations was much better today but it has not gone away completely so we will continue to investigate that tonight. But considering the strategy we have we are happy about his qualifying today. For the race we will have to run low downforce levels because you cannot sacrifice top speed here. Cars follow each other quite closely on the banking and it is definitely possible to pass on the straight. We have done most of our practice sessions on old tyres so we have a good idea of what performance levels to expect. Our Bridgestone tyres are strong over one lap and consistent so we are in good shape."