Platzhalter Motorsport

Panasonic Toyota Racing

US Grand Prix - Qualifying Round-Up

Panasonic Toyota Racing's Jarno Trulli produced an outstanding performance to take the team's first ever pole position for tomorrow's US Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Trulli made no mistakes on his way to the front of the grid, giving the team something to celebrate after a difficult weekend. Ricardo Zonta put in another impressive performance under trying circumstances to qualify in 13th place. Zonta was driving as a replacement for Ralf Schumacher, who will play no further part in the weekend following a decision from the FIA's medical team in the wake of his accident yesterday. That accident, along with another suffered on Friday by Zonta himself, meant that the team missed out on much of this morning's practice sessions while it awaited assurances from tyre partner Michelin. Under the circumstances, the qualifying laps produced by the two drivers were even more impressive. The team will now head into Sunday's race confident of keeping its position of joint third in the con!
structors' championship.

Jarno Trulli put in a storming lap to take pole position for tomorrow's US Grand Prix, the first in Toyota's F1 history. The result came despite having his weekend of practice disrupted by the accidents involving his team-mates yesterday.

Jarno Trulli (Car 16, Chassis TF105/02)
GRID: 1st
First Practice Classification: 20th
No lap time
Laps: 0
Second Practice Classification: 7th
Lap Time: 1m11.457s (+0.814s)
Laps: 7
Qualifying Classification: 1st
Lap Time: 1m10.625s (Pole)
Laps: 3

"It's been a day of mixed emotions for the whole Toyota team after all the troubles we had yesterday so that makes this result all the sweeter. I did a good job and put in a great, clear lap, but I was still very happy to keep hold of pole position right up to the end of the session. It's been a strange day and I didn't do many laps in practice, but I just had to stay calm and do my work despite the limited mileage. Obviously the tyres remain a big concern for the race so we hope that we can sort this problem out for tomorrow. Hopefully we will learn more this afternoon. Then we must just look forward to the race and see what we can do."

Ricardo Zonta only found out he would be driving after he arrived at the circuit this morning, meaning he also had the disadvantage of going out first. But he produced an impressive performance in the most trying circumstances to take 13th on the grid for tomorrow's race.

Ricardo Zonta (Car 17, Chassis TF105/03)
GRID: 13th
First Practice Classification: 19th
No lap time
Laps: 0
Second Practice Classification: 9th
Lap Time: 1m11.760s (+1.117s)
Laps: 10
Qualifying Classification: 13th
Lap Time: 1m11.754s (+1.129s)
Laps: 3

"I'm happy for Jarno, but those were certainly not the ideal circumstances for my first qualifying run in eight months. There was a bit of confusion this morning after the accidents yesterday and we didn't do much running overall. Even so, qualifying went okay. Going out first is hard because that's when the track is at its most slippery, and I found myself sliding quite a lot. But I'm satisfied with my lap and happy to be have another chance to race."

Today's qualifying performance comes as the best news Toyota could have had after the team endured the most difficult of starts to the US Grand Prix weekend.

Dieter Gass – Chief Race Engineer
"It's great for Jarno to get our first ever pole position, and we're all very happy with that. He did another very good lap, as we've grown used to seeing from him in qualifying this year, and he just managed to edge out Raikkonen. For Ricardo it was obviously a lot more difficult being the first car out and we saw big differences between the cars in other teams which had an early car and a late car. But he still did a good job to gain some places. Now we must see what happens concerning the tyres for tomorrow. Everyone knows about the problems that we and Michelin have had here. Now we must wait for information from Michelin about the race situation tomorrow. There's talk of bringing another tyre out to Indianapolis, but we need to wait for a decision."