Melbourne, Australia, 12th March 2000 Circuit Length 5.26/3.27 Total 307.516 Kms Jordan close the gap on top McLaren and Ferrari Benson and Hedges Jordan drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli will start the Australian Grand Prix...
Melbourne, Australia, 12th March 2000
Circuit Length 5.26/3.27 Total 307.516 Kms
Benson and Hedges Jordan drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli will start the Australian Grand Prix from the third row of the grid after a very successful qualifying session today at Albert Park. The two Jordan drivers set their best times early on in the session, racing hard behind McLaren and Ferrari. Jarno Trulli was forced to take the T car (which had been set up for Frentzen) after a software problem on his race car led to a gear selection malfunction. Further problems with the T car meant he was not able to improve on his time, but the lap time he had posted at the start of the session was good enough to place him sixth.
Immediately after the session the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, visited the Jordan garage where he met Eddie Jordan and congratulated the drivers and team. Last night, as part of his duties as an Irish Ambassador for Tourism and Sport, Eddie Jordan joined the Prime Minister as guest speaker at events hosted by the Irish Tourist Board and the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce.
McLaren and Ferrari dominated the day's events, with the Hakkinen and Coulthard lining up 1st and 2nd, Schumacher and Barrichello 3rd and 4th. Jordan, however, has closed the gap on the top two teams as noted by Chief Executive Eddie Jordan. "This result is very encouraging and seems to indicate that we are not too far behind the two top teams," he said after the session. "Both drivers did a fantastic job. Jarno did particularly well to finish sixth in his first qualifying for the team, especially since the reliability problems he had with the car meant he only made one proper run. I would not like to make any predictions for tomorrow as reliability will be a big factor. We hope to finish the race and win points."
Jarno Trulli felt he could have beaten Ferrari had he had more time out on track. "With all the problems I have had this weekend I am very happy to have qualified sixth. Having said that, I am also frustrated because I was only able to make one proper run and I think if I had had more time on the track I would have been much closer to Ferrari or could even have beaten them. But I am really looking forward to the season as there is no doubt we have a very competitive car."
"Our performance today shows that we are achieving what we set out to achieve -- that is to close the gap on the top two teams," added Heinz-Harald Frentzen. "I am very happy with how the qualifying session went and I am looking forward to the season and to closing the gap even further. The main thing tomorrow is to finish the race."
Irvine will start behind Trulli. His team mate, Herbert, struggled in the session and finished 20th. Williams had a difficult day; Ralf Schumacher finished 11th and Jenson Button on his first qualifying in F1, managed only 21st place.