Panasonic Toyota Racing has come away with rich pickings from today's Italian Grand Prix after Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher took 5th and 6th places and a total of seven world championship points. On a hot day at Monza, Trulli had an enjoyable home race while Ralf Schumacher also had a strong afternoon's work, battling through from lower on the grid with the help of shrewd strategy work from the team. The result is yet more good news for Toyota's position in the constructors' championship. The team still holds 4th place with a total of 78 points, but today's haul means the team is now just eight points away from the top three.
CHICANE AND ABLE
Jarno Trulli made the most of his home race, taking 5th place at today's Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The result keeps him in 5th place in the world championship with 43 points.
"Today was a fantastic race for me. I pushed right to the limit from the beginning to the end. The car balance wasn't too bad, but we struggled a bit with traction. I lost a couple of places early on when we weren't as quick down the straights as other lighter cars. But our car was as reliable as it has been all season. I didn't expect to be able to come home in 5th place so it was definitely a positive day. It's great for the team, too, and our total of seven points means we are now bearing down on Ferrari in the constructors' championship. We'll be really pushing to catch them."
RACING GRITTILY IN ITALY
Ralf Schumacher also made the points with a strong race around Monza. The German made ground over the course of the race from 9th on the grid to an eventual 6th place. He stays in 7th place in the world championship with 35 points.
"That was another good result for us, and it's great to have taken 5th and 6th between us. It was quite a difficult race for me. I had trouble with grip so it was very slippery throughout the race. I was sliding a lot and I had both understeer and oversteer during the afternoon. It was especially hard on a heavy fuel load. Towards the end of the stints I could go at a decent pace. But the team again did a great job with the strategy and in the pitstops. So that basically moved me forward. Now maybe we have a chance to catch up with Ferrari."
It was a successful weekend's work for Panasonic Toyota Racing with strong points finishes for both Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher and a timely boost in the constructors' championship.
Tsutomu Tomita – Team Principal
"That was a very good race for us. We were the third quickest team behind McLaren and Renault and I don't think we could have done any better. We were very happy with our race strategy. We lost a couple of places early on because other cars were running lighter than us. But our strategy was proved to be right because we ended up ahead of them at the flag. The points mean we are opening a gap to the teams behind us but more importantly we are making ground on Ferrari. Now we are only eight points behind with four races left. We are closing on them and we will push hard to catch them and make it into the top three. We will also continue to work hard on the technical side to close the gap in pace to the top two."