Olivier Panis thrilled his home fans in Magny-Cours today with an eighth-place finish, making full use of a three-stop strategy to claim Panasonic Toyota Racing's fifth point of the season. Cristiano da Matta saw the chequered flag, finishing the 70-lap French Grand Prix in eleventh position, but a two-stop strategy did not reap rewards.
Olivier Panis – Car Number 20
Classification: 8th, +1 lap (from race winner)
Starting Position: 10th
"This eighth place is a very positive result for the team. The car felt good and I drove a strong race. In my career, I have never finished a race here at Magny-Cours, so I am relieved that this record has finally changed. I pushed really hard to keep my position and a point is a point, one that I am happy to take it in front of my home crowd. We are making progress step-by-step, but we need to continue to improve the car ahead of the next grand prix in Britain. We have made good progress at the last three grands prix, but we need to keep increasing our competitiveness."
Cristiano da Matta – Car Number 21
Classification: 11th, +1 lap (from race winner)
Starting Position: 13th
"The positive things we can say after today's race is that we have our reliability back and didn't suffer from any problems during the race itself. We struggled in the race because we probably made the incorrect tyre choice, opting for prime rather than option. We cannot really blame this decision on anyone because we had wet conditions on Friday, from which we couldn't draw any conclusions, and then only 40-or-so laps on Saturday morning to decide our entire race set-up. Looking ahead, I am very optimistic for Silverstone because we had a positive test there recently, and it is a track I enjoy, so we’ll be looking for points."
Ove Andersson – Team Principal
"I am pleased that we have managed to get one point from today's race. The team has worked well this weekend and the cars have been reliable and relatively quick. We have a good solid result and another point in the bag - a particularly fitting one for Olivier at his home grand prix. Hopefully, the upward trend will continue now and more points will come. We have some improvements coming for Silverstone, so I think we can realistically target a two-car finish in the points at the British Grand Prix."
Weather: Cloudy but dry and warm
T-Car: TF103/04 set up for Olivier Panis. Spare Chassis: TF103/02.
Friday practice (wet track)
Panis P8, 1m28.773s, 20 laps
Da Matta P16, 1m30.791s, 25 laps
Friday Qualifying (wet-drying track)
Panis, P4, 1m24.175s (+3.358s)
Da Matta, P10, 1m26.975s (+6.158s)
Saturday practice 1 (dry track)
Da Matta, P8, 1m17.118s, 25 laps
Panis, P10, 1m17.186s, 18 laps
Saturday practice 2 (dry track)
Panis, P8, 1m16.133s, 17 laps
Da Matta, P13, 1m17.690s, 22 laps
Saturday Warm-Up (dry track)
Panis, P6, 1m16.238s, 4 laps
Da Matta, P14, 1m17.382s, 6 laps
Saturday qualifying (dry track)
Panis, P10, 1m16.345s (+1.326s)
Da Matta, P13, 1m17.068s (+2.049s)