Panasonic Toyota Racing suffered mixed fortunes in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park, with Jarno Trulli in 9th place and Ralf Schumacher in 18th. On another hot and sunny day, the track temperature was at 50°C when Q1 began. Jarno was able to get a clean lap and comfortably reach the next session but Ralf encountered traffic on his first flying laps. Both drivers improved their lap times in the scramble at the very end of the session but unfortunately Ralf missed out on Q2 by less than two 100ths of a second, leaving him to start from 18th. In Q2 Jarno put in a good late lap to make it through a tightly-contested session and take his place in the top 10 shoot-out, where his final flying lap was good enough for 9th. The team now hopes to make the best of the situation with both drivers and claim as strong a result as possible to mark Panasonic Toyota Racing's 100th Grand Prix.
Free Practice Session 3 14th Lap Time: 1m 28.520s (+1.195s) Laps: 21
Q1 11th Lap Time: 1m 28.318s (+1.024s) Laps: 7
Q2 9th Lap Time: 1m 27.801s (+0.960s) Laps: 6
Q3 9th Lap Time: 1m 28.740s (+1.411s) Laps: 11
"It is good to be in the top 10 again and I think it was a positive day. It was hard work to get into the top 10 because I was struggling a bit with the handling of the car, which did not seem to suit my driving style. I had a bit of a problem under braking and couldn't attack as I wanted to. I think we did a good job to get 9th position but, of course, it is always possible to improve, especially because at this circuit overtaking is possible. For tomorrow we are expecting a good result looking at our pace in the last few races. I am hoping that from 9th on the grid I can have a good result because I am looking forward to scoring points again. I have high hopes for the race but I hope I do not have the same problems as today."
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05) PROVISIONAL GRID: 18th
Free Practice Session 3 13th Lap Time: 1m 28.481s (+1.156s) Laps: 20
Q1 18th Lap Time: 1m 28.809s (+1.515s) Laps: 7
"That was a frustrating session and a disappointing result. We had some problems on my first flying laps in Q1. Twice my rear tyres locked and we don't know why yet, we will have to investigate. That was why my times were not as good as we expected after my third place in practice yesterday. Then we changed tyres and made an adjustment to the front wing but I had a lot of oversteer. The car was nervous in the middle sector and I couldn't push as hard as I wanted to. It was definitely a shame because we had the potential to start much higher. We have to analyse what went wrong. In the race anything is possible. Last year I started towards the back and managed to finish 7th because it is possible to overtake on this track. It is a long race so we will wait and see."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis
"We have some work to do to understand what has happened since the end of P3 this morning because up to then we were having a competitive weekend. Things started to go wrong when we went to the option tyre at the end of P3 and did not gain as much as the other teams. It stayed pretty much the same in qualifying. We have one car in the top 10 thanks to a good lap from Jarno but we are still far away from where we thought we would be. We did not benefit as much as the others from the improvement of the track with the option tyre. For Ralf it was a different story. He could not get a clear lap in Q1 and this combined with some balance issues and the fact we were not as fast as we should have been caused his result. Of course it will be difficult for him but last year here he started 15th after an engine change, he had a collision at the start and had to pit but still finished 7th. Hopefully he can make up some positions because our race pace should be good. Jarno is in a much better position and he has a sensible strategy in terms of fuel load. We hope he can fight for points."