Panasonic Toyota Racing will have one car in the top ten for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix after a fine effort from home hero Jarno Trulli. After a hard-fought afternoon of qualifying on another sunny day at Monza, Jarno made it into Q3 with a storming lap before securing 9th on the grid. Ralf Schumacher was less fortunate, narrowly failing to progress from a very tight Q1, missing the cut by five hundredths of a second. It had already been a disrupted day at the Italian circuit as the morning practice session was interrupted for 20 minutes by a heavy accident involving Kimi Raikkonen. Now the team will work hard overnight as it bids to make the most of these positions and make progress in tomorrow's race.
Free Practice Session 3 8th Lap Time: 1m 23.672s (+1.618s) Laps: 16
Q1 15th Lap Time: 1m 23.724s (+2.006s) Laps: 7
Q2 9th Lap Time: 1m 23.107s (+1.751s) Laps: 6
Q3 9th Lap Time: 1m 24.555s (+2.558s) Laps: 11
"It is great to make it into the top ten again but it was obviously a very tough battle to get there this time. The gaps between the drivers were very small so it was a fight to the last moment in every lap. I wasn't really expecting to get into Q3 but I was happy with my laps and with the result. I got the most out of the car and P9 is a good position to start from tomorrow. The weekend has actually gone pretty smoothly up to now and the team has worked hard to get the job done. Brakes and tyres are playing a major role this weekend and now we will have to get it right from the start tomorrow and try to get away without problems. Then we can push hard to convert this into a good result at my home race."
Ralf Schumacher (Car 11, Chassis TF107/05) PROVISIONAL GRID: 18th
Free Practice Session 3 18th Lap Time: 1m 24.167s (+2.113s) Laps: 13
Q1 18th Lap Time: 1m 23.787s (+2.069s) Laps: 7
"That was a very tough day. It was a very tight session, with many cars putting in similar times around the mark to qualify for Q2. Just as yesterday Jarno and I put in similar times but he made it and I just missed out. Still, we were not as competitive as we had hoped. It's been a hard weekend so far for us here at this circuit. Our straight line speed is fine but braking is also important and you have to be able to ride the kerbs, which remains a difficulty. But it will be a long race and we still have some things to sort out with our tyres so maybe that can help us tomorrow. It will be a difficult afternoon from 18th but I will try my best and see what we can do."
Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis "It seems that we are struggling at both extremes of the circuit ranking in terms of average speed. We had a hard time in Monaco and it's obviously been the same story here. It was a hard task to get into Q3 but Jarno put in two good laps at the end of each of the first two sessions. So he has a reasonable starting position for tomorrow but it was hard work. The lap times were very close throughout and Ralf was narrowly on the wrong side of the cut to make it into Q2. Now the race will be interesting tomorrow. We should see very different strategies because of the characteristics of the track and the way the tyres are working. So the outcome is quite open and it is difficult to anticipate what will happen. On our side we feel quite happy with our choice so we will go into the race with confidence."