Everything came together satisfactorily for Panasonic Toyota Racing in Imola today with both Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta putting in clean flying laps to secure the team 10th and 13th positions on the grid for tomorrow's GP. This third top ten grid result of the season meets the team's 2003 target of top ten qualifying results and both drivers are now looking to complete full race distance, hoping for a top-eight finish.
Olivier Panis - Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/05
Session Classification: 10th
Lap Time: 1m23.460s, +1.133s from pole
Starting position: 9th
"I am really quite pleased with my flying lap today and another top ten grid position. It was particularly good considering we did not start in so well yesterday with a lot of handling problems. The team has done a good job and reacted very well to adjust and improve the car. It's the first time this season that I have managed a clean flying lap and I think, in the end, we are looking in reasonable shape for the race."
Cristiano da Matta - Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/02
Session Classification: 13th
Lap Time: 1m23.838s, +1.511s from pole
Starting Position: 3rd
"After a tricky start to the weekend, I think I got pretty much everything out of the car I could today. The track conditions were a bit slippery, but my lap was quite good. We have been making constant improvements to the car all weekend and the whole team has done a good job. Of course, there is no limit on the work you can do on car set-up; there is always something extra, but from a driving point of view, I think it was a good day and I am pleased."
Keizo Takahashi - General Manager Car Design and Development "It was generally a good qualifying for us - and another top ten result. We used the data acquired yesterday to find a good set-up on the TF103s and the team has worked hard to improve the car a lot since free practice yesterday. Both Olivier and Cristiano did a good job and I am very happy with today's result and I am quite hopeful that we can get a top-eight result tomorrow."
Temperatures: Air 18-21, Track 21-29, Average Humidity 41%.
T-Car: TF103/01 set up for Olivier Panis.
Review: Panis was not happy with the opening practice session on Friday after a brake problem limited his running. Cristiano da Matta worked on Michelin tyre evaluation and car set-up. The Panasonic Toyota Racing duo lined up 16th (Da Matta) and 17th (Panis) in the classification (1m24.117s and 1m24.565s). An error in the first sector of his flying lap in Friday's qualifying put Da Matta down in 18th spot (1m24.854s), but after radical changes to his car set-up, Panis finished in 12th (1m22.765s). Saturday morning free practice saw further improvements to the handling of both TF103s, with work focused on Michelin tyre evaluation. Panis was classified 10th (1m24.099s) with Da Matta completing 40 laps, ending the session 14th (1m24.683s).