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Panasonic Toyota Racing: GP of Japan - Qualifying and Race Round-Up

Grand Prix of Japan – Qualifying and Race Round-Up

Jarno Trulli (Car 16, Chassis TF104/10B)

Race Classification: 11th (+1 lap from race winner)
Qualifying: 6th (1m35.213s / +1.671s)
Pre-Qualifying: 1st (1m37.716s)

Qualifying: "Sixth place on my Toyota race debut is quite a satisfying result. It has been a tough weekend with the wet weather on Friday, then the typhoon warning on Saturday and now a drying track for qualifying. We had a bit of luck in pre-qualifying when I set the fastest time, but I expected a slightly better result in the second session. However, sixth place on the grid is not too bad, especially as I think we might struggle a bit in the race."

Race: "I do not think that we could have achieved anything better today. After a good qualifying, which put me sixth on the grid, I got a good start and was up to fifth place at the end of the first lap. Unfortunately, during the race, there was a big tyre drop-off, which compromised the car balance and grip levels and made it a tough afternoon for me. However, there are only positives to take away from this weekend; it was my race debut for Panasonic Toyota Racing and I gathered a lot of valuable experience, which was my priority here in Suzuka this weekend."

Olivier Panis (Car 17, Chassis TF104/09B)

Race Classification: 14th (+2 laps from race winner)
Qualifying: 10th (1m36.420s / +2.878s)
Pre-Qualifying: 5th (1m40.029s / +2.313s)

Qualifying: "The track conditions were quite difficult after all the rain that we have had this weekend. We were lucky to go out late in both qualifying sessions because the track was always drying out, so we benefited from improving conditions. This Japanese GP is important for Toyota as our home grand prix and we have a lot of support from the many fans in the grandstands, so to have both cars in the top ten is very good."

Race: "Although I am not satisfied with the result, we did our best in today's race. We took a risk with the tyre choice after the bad weather restricted our running on Friday, but I had a lot of graining this afternoon and I simply could not push. I am very happy that I could complete my last F1 race in front of all the Japanese fans. To stop racing after eleven years is a special moment. I would like to thank everyone in Panasonic Toyota Racing for two enjoyable years, all the support and for the F1 car that has been generously given to me as a gift. Although I have stopped racing, this is not the end because I have signed a two year contract as third driver. Now we have to continue the challenge."

Tsutomu Tomita – Team Principal
"I think it was always going to be a difficult race for us today. Both drivers did a good job in qualifying this morning to put both cars in the top ten. In the race, Olivier did not have a good start and then struggled on the softer compound Michelin tyre for the whole race. Jarno, on the harder compound, fought very strongly and was racing near the front for some time. Unfortunately, he also had difficulty with tyre degradation and ended up in 11th place at the chequered flag. Overall, I am impressed with how easily Jarno has settled into Toyota. It was a hard race debut for him, but I think we have worked well together as a team. I would like to thank all the Toyota fans and employees who turned up to support us this weekend in our 50th grand prix. Their level of enthusiasm is highly appreciated as we look to great achievements in the future. On behalf of the whole team, I also thank Olivier for his contribution over the last two seasons. We are all looking forward to wo!
! rking with him for the next two years."

T-car: TF104/11B (set-up for Jarno Trulli)

Full results from this weekend's Grand Prix can be found on Panasonic Toyota Racing's media website