Panasonic Toyota Racing is celebrating its third podium of 2009 after Jarno Trulli took third place at today's Bahrain Grand Prix. On another sweltering day, Jarno started on pole with Timo alongside him on P2, both on the super soft tyre. Both cars made good starts but Timo edged in front into the first corner. The pair were closely matched early on, building up a cushion over the third placed car as Jarno set the race's fastest lap. Timo pitted on lap 11 and Jarno took advantage of his extra lap of fuel, jumping ahead at his first stop. Both drivers swapped to the medium compound tyre and Jarno ran second after the first round of stops. But Timo struggled for grip on his heavy fuel load and he brought his second stop forward to lap 33, fuelling to the end on the super soft tyre. Jarno also took the super soft tyres when he pitted on lap 37, battling hard en route to the podium. Timo added another two valuable points with 7th. Toyota was already celebrating in Bahrain as third driver Kamui Kobayashi wrapped up the GP2 Asia championship on Saturday.
"I'm a little disappointed to be honest because I thought we had a chance to take Toyota's first win this weekend. But it was a hard race. I was slightly slower into the first corner than Timo so I spent the first stint following him. I knew I was going longer than him but it was still difficult. Then we went for a very long second stint on the hard tyres. It was really hard fighting with the other cars and eventually Sebastian took the position after my last stop. After that he was on the hard tyres and I was on the soft. I was pushing him because I was quicker but there was no way to overtake. Still, I have to thank the engineers and mechanics because they did a very good job and it's good to be on the podium again."
"That was a difficult race. I made a promising start and I was surprised to get ahead of Jarno from the dirty side. Then we were the first car to pit, which was already critical. But when I went out on the prime tyres I don't know how many seconds I lost on the first two laps because I was really struggling for grip. I couldn't get any heat into the tyres and I really lost the race in the second stint. I was sliding around and it was clear that the speed was better on the options. In the end I was chasing Kimi but there was no chance to overtake. Still, two points are better than none and we will now look for more in Spain."
Tadashi Yamashina - Team Principal
"We expected more from today but I'm happy with third place and I'd like to thank Jarno for his efforts. Timo struggled for stability on the prime tyre so that's where he lost ground but he still brought home two points. This is our third podium of the year so I'd like to thank everyone involved with the team, both here in Bahrain and at the factory, along with our sponsors. When we have conditions like these we must now aim for the centre of the podium, starting at the next race in Barcelona."