Panasonic Toyota Racing is looking forward to a positive home result in the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring after Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher qualified in the top 10 today. Qualifying started under blue skies in warm conditions, with track temperatures of 35°C, and both drivers easily progressed beyond Q1, with Jarno 10th, one place ahead of Ralf. Q2 saw both Toyotas in the top 10 but it was not without drama for Jarno, who spun at the Veedol Chicane in the final seconds. However, his earlier lap time was sufficient and he lined up just behind Ralf in the pit lane as the drivers waited for the green light in Q3. They had more waiting to do when the red flags came out with five minutes remaining, signalling a delay of over half an hour. When the session finally resumed, Jarno set the 8th fastest time, with Ralf in 9th, giving both drivers a platform from which to fight for points in the race tomorrow.
Free Practice Session 3 13th Lap Time: 1m 32.936s (+1.540s) Laps: 20
Q1 10th Lap Time: 1m 32.381s (+1.307s) Laps: 7
Q2 10th Lap Time: 1m 31.859s (+0.947s) Laps: 5
Q3 8th Lap Time: 1m 32.501s (+1.051s) Laps: 10
"It was a difficult qualifying session. We both did a reasonably good job and I think we are in good shape for the race. We will keep working hard but having two cars in the top 10 is not too bad. The first session went well and we had no trouble getting through. As you could see, I had a spin on my last flying lap in Q2 at the chicane but luckily it did not matter and we got into the top 10 again. The red flag in Q3 didn’t really affect me. It is part of our job – when I saw Lewis get out of the car, I could just forget it straight away. Obviously there is quite a lot of work to do to fight the cars ahead of us but from where we are on the grid, we have a good chance of scoring points again, so as usual I w ill push hard and try to get the best result possible. It should be dry tomorrow but we are at the Nürburgring so anything can happen!"
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05) PROVISIONAL GRID: 9th
Free Practice Session 3 10th Lap Time: 1m 32.788s (+1.392s) Laps: 21
Q1 11th Lap Time: 1m 32.446s (+1.372s) Laps: 6
Q2 9th Lap Time: 1m 31.843s (+0.931s) Laps: 6
Q3 9th Lap Time: 1m 32.570s (+1.120s) Laps: 10
"The session went quite well for me today and getting into the top 10 is positive. We would have liked to have finished a bit higher but eighth and ninth is still okay. We knew it was going to be difficult to get both cars in the top 10 but the car feels quite good and I am reasonably happy with today’s performance. It felt like we had a decent balance throughout the session and we had no problems with the car, so that was good. I am happy to be on the clean side of the grid for the start tomorrow – hopefully we can make a strong start because there are cars in fro nt of us which I think we can catch. We will see how it goes but I am hopeful. The weekend has gone well for us so far and now we will hopefully score some points."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis
"It was a bit of a disappointing qualifying session because the weekend was developing pretty much like Silverstone and we were expecting to fight for the top six. In fact both Ralf and Jarno were able to fight for the top six because they ended up within a few 100ths of a second of the cars in front but still, we missed out. That is quite disappointing. Otherwise the preparation to this session went really smoothly for both drivers and as a consequence we are reasonably well prepared for the race tomorrow. With the red flag delay late in Q3, we managed the last five minutes to make sure both cars could complete their laps without any traffic. We decided we would go with a strategy which minimised the traffic risk and everything went smoothly, except the final p ositions, which we expected to be better."