Platzhalter Motorsport

Panasonic Toyota Racing

Bahrain Grand Prix - Saturday Practice and Qualifying Round-Up

Categorically underlining the performance of the TF105 race car and the team, Panasonic Toyota Racing has today taken the runner-up position in first qualifying to add to its one-lap triumphs from Australia and Malaysia. Having taken its maiden podium in Sepang a fortnight ago, the Cologne-based squad is looking for a repeat performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix tomorrow.

Jarno Trulli looks almost certain to line up on the front row of the grid for the third time in three races after a faultless qualifying lap propelled the Italian to provisional second place in first qualifying in Bahrain. Trulli's time was just hundredths-of-a-second from the polesetter's time and three-tenths clear of his nearest challenger.

Jarno Trulli (Car 16, Chassis TF105/02)
First Practice Classification: 4th
Lap Time: 1m32.776s (+2.224s)
Laps: 8
Second Practice Classification: 4th
Lap Time: 1m29.798s (+0.271s)
Laps: 12
First Qualifying Classification: 2nd
Lap Time: 1m29.993s (+0.145s)
Laps: 3

"Another excellent result, not only for myself, but for the whole team who have again performed magnificently. We have showed that if we perform consistently over the weekend, then we can be right up there when it counts. We have to keep up this pace tomorrow. The car is better than in yesterday's sessions, but it is still not entirely to my driving style with some oversteer, which lost me some time over the lap. All in all, we are pleased with second and hope to have a replay of our Malaysian success in tomorrow's race."

Ralf Schumacher's chances of a top three placing in first qualifying this afternoon were scuppered at turn eight of the Bahrain International Circuit when the German lost critical time. Ralf was the quickest driver through the middle sector in this morning's free practice session and second quickest driver of the morning.

Ralf Schumacher (Car 17, Chassis TF105/04) First Practice Classification: 6th Lap Time: 1m32.868s (+2.316s)
Laps: 11
Second Practice Classification: 2nd
Lap Time: 1m29.711s (+0.184s)
Laps: 12
First Qualifying Classification: 11th
Lap Time: 1m30.952s (+1.104s)
Laps: 3

"That was a very disappointing qualifying session. I lost almost a second of time due to oversteer at the entry of turn eight on my qualifying lap and that has resulted in only 11th place heading into tomorrow's decisive session. The car is quick here and the Michelin tyres are working well, so it is somewhat frustrating not to have been able to convert our competitiveness from this morning. Nevertheless, I am happy for Jarno and the team for scoring another strong second place."

Mike Gascoyne received a welcome birthday present in the form of a stunning second place in first qualifying today. The Englishman believes that Panasonic Toyota Racing's performance has underpinned and reaffirmed the competitiveness of the team following its debut podium at the last race.

Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director Chassis "In the end it was a disappointing qualifying session, despite the fact that we have placed one of our TF105s on the provisional front row of the grid. Ralf made a mistake due to oversteer at turn eight and lost a lot of time, which will make thing difficult tomorrow. We have to look at moving him up the grid and into the top ten. Jarno did a reasonably good lap, but felt that he could have gained a couple of tenths. Yet again, we have a car in second position, but the team is now looking to achieve more than that. Tomorrow, we have to consolidate Jarno's starting position and aim to score at least our second podium."