The Austrian hills were alive this afternoon with the sound of roaring Cosworth CR5 V10s powering the Jaguar R4 as Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia qualified in 3rd and 9th positions respectively - making Jaguar Racing the quickest Michelin runner...
The Austrian hills were alive this afternoon with the sound of roaring Cosworth CR5 V10s powering the Jaguar R4 as Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia qualified in 3rd and 9th positions respectively - making Jaguar Racing the quickest Michelin runner in the pit-lane. Mark and Antonio spent the two-hour testing session undertaking the usual Friday job-list of set-up work, tyre comparisons and preparing for the first phase of qualifying this afternoon.
Both drivers completed their programmes as planned with reliability not being an issue thus far in the weekend. As qualifying got underway, Mark took to the track in 14th position while Antonio went out last in 20th position. The track temperature dropped by around six degrees from the beginning to the end of the session but the expected change in weather towards rain did not materialise, albeit the treat still remains for Sunday's race.
Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance:
"A super performance from both drivers. We were actually aiming to put both Jaguars comfortably into the top ten and the fact that Mark has put the car onto P3 is testament to how well it is working around this circuit. The grip wasn't great this morning when we first ventured out for the two-hour free testing session but as the rubber went down, so too have our lap times."
"While the rain clouds have stayed away so far, the track temperature is a little colder than we expected and as we have seen all morning, quite a few drivers have been caught out by the general lack of grip. Nonetheless, our preparation going into this weekend has been extensive and our three-day test at Paul Ricard last week has played an important part in our performance here today. The points and prizes, however, are on Sunday and tomorrow we'll focus our efforts on race strategy. All in all, a very positive start to our weekend here and full marks to both drivers and the team for making the most of our potential."
"We came here expecting a good and respectable performance given the amount of work we have undertaken and I am pleased with our start to the weekend. The Jaguar R4 felt really good all-round today. The balance, Michelin tyres and Cosworth CR5 engine worked in complete harmony to produce a higher qualifying position than any of us expected. I was aiming for a top eight slot but P3 is simply brilliant reward for all the hardwork going on in this team."
"I really enjoyed the lap too but like anything in life, you always want more! The car is particularly good into the corners and this gives you extra confidence on the entry. To be the highest placed Michelin runner is very encouraging indeed as we head closer to race day and we'll do our homework in preparation for an optimum strategy. As we showed in Barcelona two weeks ago, a reliable Jaguar crossing the finishing line has the pace to score points and that's what we need more of this weekend. The early signals are good!"
"I am pleased with my position but I felt I could have done better had it not been for a brake issue which has been affecting me all morning. It's not a new issue but because the brakes are safety sensitive, the team is working diligently towards finding a solution and this takes time. The car's balance, however, is very good around this circuit and I certainly wasn't pushing too hard in an effort to avoid unnecessary risk."
"My familiarity and comfort is growing all the time with this car and I have more to give as we go into qualifying tomorrow. The Michelin tyres seem quite competitive and assuming we can carry the reliability into Sunday, there is nothing to stop us from making a serious points challenge this weekend."
Best time: 1:08.512
Best time: 1:09.024