Panasonic Toyota Racing has secured its third consecutive points finish of 2007 courtesy of Jarno Trulli’s fine 7th place at the Bahrain International Circuit. After the mixed weather of the previous few days at Sakhir, the race took place on a hot and sunny day with track temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius. Jarno and team-mate Ralf Schumacher lined up in 9th and 14th places respectively on the grid. Both lost ground at the start before an early accident brought out the safety car. But Jarno battled hard and made up places by passing both Renaults on the way to two points. Ralf’s day was tougher but he brought his car home in 12th place to maintain the team’s 100 percent reliability record. Toyota will now look to build on this solid start to the season make up ground on the front-runners. The next major test is scheduled for Barcelona beginning on April 30 in preparation for the next round of the cha mpionship, the Spanish Grand Prix, which will take place at the same circuit on May 13.
Jarno Trulli (Car 12, Chassis TF107/04)
Race Classification 7th Gap: +1m 21.371s Tyre Strategy: Soft Soft Hard
Qualifying Classification 9th Time: 1m 34.154s (+1.502s in Q3) Grid: 9th
"That was a very tough race for me and I did a great job so I am happy both for myself and for the team. It’s my job to resist pressure and this result was due to driving experience and getting the best out of the car. The pit stops and the strategy were perfect and the car’s balance was good. But the problem was that it was very hard to battle in traffic because everyone else was quicker than me on the straights. I had to defend and attack at the same time and it is hard to attack if you are slower than the cars you are fighting with when it comes to top speed. So it was a great race and it feels like a victory. I would like to dedicate the two points to my son Enzo, who is celebrating his second birthd ay today."
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/03)
Race Classification 12th Gap: +1 lap Tyre Strategy: Soft Soft Hard
Qualifying Classification 14th Time: 1m 33.294s (+1.935s in Q3) Grid: 14th
"It’s been a difficult weekend for me since the beginning and it was another hard day out there starting from so far back. Jarno’s points show that it was not a bad race but I made my life hard and struggled to adapt the car to suit me since Friday. Today we didn’t get away well off the line and that meant I was always going to be in traffic. If you have a less than perfect set-up then it is difficult to make up ground. So it was not a good day but we can’t change that. Now we need to work hard and analyse everything. We have a new aerodynamic package coming to Barcelona so we hope that brings us further forward.
John Howett – TMG President
"That was a very tough but exciting race for us and Jarno did an unbelievable job. He overtook when he had to and he defended his position when he had to. In the end he was able to pass cars, including both Renaults, while under pressure from several cars behind him. When we saw that he was fast we went for a long second stint and that should have enabled him to pass the Red Bulls too. That was despite a top speed which was down compared to qualifying so we will have to analyse the reasons for that. The starts did not go as well as expected either and we lost positions with both cars. We have to solve that because there’s no point in fighting so hard in qualifying if we are going to lose out off the line. Ralf always had a hard race from where he was on the grid but he did well to bring the car home. Now we have to help him and make the car more driveable for him. Overall it was a solid race and we finished where we thought we were after qualifying – the fourth fastest team – so it’s good to see concrete evidence. This weekend we have shown a continued improvement of our performance after Melbourne and Sepang. So although we are not where we want to be and we still have to improve the overall pace, it’s encouraging."