Panasonic Toyota Racing had an encouraging start to the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in Sakhir today with Ricardo Zonta topping the opening practice session and ending up second quickest of the day, whilst both race drivers Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher were both inside the top ten in second practice.
Jarno Trulli was consistently amongst the front-running drivers in second practice setting the sixth fastest time of the hour-long session having not driven in the morning to conserve valuable mileage on his RVX-05. The Italian's priority ahead of tomorrow is to dial out the oversteer in his TF105.
Jarno Trulli (Car 16, Chassis TF105/02)
First Session Classification: 23rd, 1 lap completed No Lap Time Second Session Classification: 6th, 22 laps completed Lap Time: 1m32.595s (+1.900s)
"It was quite a typical Friday trying different set-ups on the car and comparing the two Michelin compounds for the weekend. We still have some work to do this afternoon and in tomorrow's sessions because I am not extremely happy with the balance of the car. I had a lot of oversteer in the car today, so we have to keep working to cure that. It is honestly too early to make any concrete predictions for this Bahrain GP."
CIRCLING THE SAND
Like his team-mate, Ralf only completed one installation lap in the opening session, relying on Ricardo Zonta to accrue data in the third car. Over his 19 laps in the afternoon, Ralf set the tenth quickest time, but hopes for even more competitiveness from his TF105 as the weekend unfolds.
Ralf Schumacher (Car 17, Chassis TF105/04) First Session Classification: 24th, 1 lap completed No Lap Time Second Session Classification: 10th, 19 laps completed Lap Time: 1m33.077s (+2.382s)
"It was a difficult day for everybody with little grip all around the circuit, as was evident from the number of people locking up and spinning throughout the day. We had no technical problems on my car so we could complete the programme, but we still have some work to do to find the right set-up and it will not be particularly easy to select the best tyre."
PLAYING IT BY GEAR
Adopting the standard third car programme for Friday, Ricardo Zonta topped the opening session of the Bahrain GP as the sun beat down on the Bahrain International Circuit. However, a technical problem prevented the Brazilian from completing the scheduled Michelin tyre evaluation in second practice and rendered the session inconclusive.
Ricardo Zonta (Car 38, Chassis TF105/01) First Session Classification: 1st, 21 laps completed Lap Time: 1m31.449s (Fastest) Second Session Classification: 14th, 11 laps completed Lap Time: 1m33.443s (+2.748s)
"I think we had a good opening practice session this morning, in which we were able to complete everything on our task list, including set-up and balance changes to the car. The all-important second practice proved to be somewhat troublesome after a gearbox problem kept me in the garage for most of the session. We therefore could not compare the Michelin tyres as planned, so we effectively lost our third car advantage today."
Ricardo Zonta's technical woes could have compromised Toyota's tyre work in this afternoon's practice session, but solid work from both race drivers enabled the team to maintain momentum after a strong opening practice from Zonta.
Dieter Gass – Chief Race Engineer
"Unfortunately, Ricardo suffered a gearbox problem in the second session today which meant that he was unable to complete the scheduled long runs to compare the two Michelin tyre compounds. This could have been slightly problematic for us today, but we managed to go through the programme with both Jarno and Ralf, so we feel that the data we have collected will give us a clear direction. We will obviously continue to make improvements in tomorrow's two practice sessions, but at the moment, the cars appear to be as competitive as in Malaysia, which bodes well for the rest of the weekend."