The Panasonic Toyota Racing team today began its preparations for the Canadian Grand Prix with a strong Friday of practice around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. In sweltering conditions at Montreal, Ricardo Zonta made the most of his extra sets of tyres as third driver to record the second fastest time of the day. Race drivers Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli both had solid days of running, ending up in 9th and 11th places respectively.
LIGHTS, CANADA, ACTION
Ralf Schumacher had a trouble-free Friday of groundwork for the Canadian Grand Prix – a race he won in 2001 – putting in 32 laps of the track and finishing both sessions in the top ten.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 17, Chassis TF105/03) First Session Classification: 9th, 10 laps completed Lap Time: 1m17.497s (+1.082s) Second Session Classification: 9th, 22 laps completed Lap Time: 1m16.364s (+1.702s)
"We had no major problems here today so in general I'm very happy with how it's gone. We successfully went through the programme and gained a lot of useful data for making the tyre choice tonight. The newly resurfaced track here meant that it was a little bit slippery in the beginning but it improved throughout the day. Looking ahead to Sunday I would expect us to be aiming for another good points finish."
MONTREAL ROAD TRACK
Now just about recovered after hosting a party for the entire Panasonic Toyota Racing team on Thursday evening in the centre of Montreal, Jarno Trulli put in a solid day's running in preparation for Sunday's race.
Jarno Trulli (Car 16, Chassis TF105/02)
First Session Classification: 12th, 6 laps completed Lap Time: 1m18.049s (+1.634s) Second Session Classification: 11th, 26 laps completed Lap Time: 1m16.638s (+1.976s)
"This was a normal Friday of testing for us, working on tyre choice and set-up. The new surface meant we struggled a bit for grip, but that was the same for everybody. The track also changed a lot during the course of the two sessions as more rubber went down. So it's difficult to say where we are at this point but we'll do our best to earn more points."
CHICANE AND ABLE
Toyota's Friday test driver Ricardo Zonta had a typically busy day of tyre comparisons, putting in a total of 60 laps on a rapidly improving track. His eventual time of 1m 14.858s was the second fastest of the day.
Ricardo Zonta (Car 38, Chassis TF105/05) First Session Classification: 2nd, 27 laps completed Lap Time: 1m16.584s (+0.169s) Second Session Classification: 2nd, 33 laps completed Lap Time: 1m14.858s (+0.196s)
"We had a good day and we were competitive throughout both sessions so we are confident. My car felt well balanced, even if it was a struggle because the track changed so much during the two sessions. Because it uses some public roads, it is always dirty to start with, making the first few laps tricky. This year they have also resurfaced the track so it was especially slippery in the morning, but it improved with every run. All in all, a positive start to the weekend."
Panasonic Toyota Racing will look to bring home another strong result in Sunday's race in the wake of its first day of running on this circuit that snakes around Montreal's casino.
Mike Gascoyne – Technical Director Chassis "That was another reasonably productive day. We had no mechanical issues on the cars and we completed the programme on all three cars. Ricardo was working on tyre comparison, carrying out a performance evaluation in the first session and two long runs in the second session. Both race drivers were reasonably happy with the balance of the cars, we looked reasonably competitive and we have plenty of data for making the tyre choice."