Belgian GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

THINGS GO SWIMMINGLY FOR POLE-WINNER TRULLI AND MICHELIN Jarno Trulli (Renault) will lead the Michelin challenge in tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. He lapped in 1m 56.232s to annexe pole position at the end of a rain-affected...

THINGS GO SWIMMINGLY FOR POLE-WINNER TRULLI AND MICHELIN

Jarno Trulli (Renault) will lead the Michelin challenge in tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. He lapped in 1m 56.232s to annexe pole position at the end of a rain-affected day. It is the second time this season he has taken pole -- and the first since Monaco, where he won.

The 30-year-old Italian fended off world championship leader Michael Schumacher by 0.072 seconds and was one of eight Michelin drivers to take a place in the top 12. His team-mate Fernando Alonso was third fastest, ahead of David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes, 4th), Mark Webber (Jaguar Racing, 7th), Olivier Panis (Toyota, 9th), Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes, 10th), Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 11th) and Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda, 12th).

Heavy rain and lingering mist caused stewards to cancel all but 15 minutes of Saturday morning's two free practice sessions. Even then, the limited track time was cut short after Antonio Pizzonia (BMW Williams F1 Team) and Gianmaria Bruni (Minardi) crashed independently at opposite sides of the circuit.

Toyota driver Ricardo Zonta failed to post a lap time in pre-qualifying after spinning off and clipping a tyre wall. He took part in the decisive second session but was only able to set 20th fastest time.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin Motorsport Director:

"It has been very satisfying to take our sixth pole position of the season. It is the first time this year that conditions have remained consistently wet on qualifying day and the results have been very encouraging."

"We obviously didn't get much running this morning, with conditions permitting just a single, short free practice, but our partner teams performed very competitively. We stuck with full wets for most of that session, but Jenson Button tried intermediates right at the end and was confident he could have set fastest time if the session had not been red-flagged."

"Qualifying was a little bit of a compromise for everybody, because cars were running on wet tyres with set-ups that are suitable for the dry conditions we anticipate tomorrow."

"Jarno Trulli was the first Michelin driver brave enough to gamble on intermediates in the decisive session -- and that paid off handsomely. Fernando Alonso, David Coulthard and Juan Pablo Montoya followed suit, but it began to drizzle again when Juan Pablo was out on the track and Kimi Räikkönen, our final runner, was forced to revert to full wets."

"Pre-race preparations have been hampered by the changeable weather and the reduced amount of running time available -- but every team is in the same boat. It is a pleasure to be back at this magnificent circuit and the stage is set for a fascinating race."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jaguar Racing