ALONSO TAKES POLE ON MICHELIN'S HOME PATCH Fernando Alonso has secured a memorable pole position for Renault and Michelin on the two partners' home soil. The 23-year-old Spaniard's 1m 13.698s lap put him 0.273s clear of world championship ...
ALONSO TAKES POLE ON MICHELIN'S HOME PATCH
Fernando Alonso has secured a memorable pole position for Renault and Michelin on the two partners' home soil. The 23-year-old Spaniard's 1m 13.698s lap put him 0.273s clear of world championship leader Michael Schumacher on the tightly-packed grid. Little more than one second separates the top 12 cars. It is the third pole of Alonso's F1 career and Michelin's fourth of the season.
Michelin runners will dominate the top half of the grid at the start of tomorrow's French Grand Prix: all six of the company's partners and 10 of its drivers feature in the top 12.
David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) will line up third - his best grid position of the season - ahead of Jenson Button (BAR-Honda/Michelin, fourth), Jarno Trulli (Renault/Michelin, fifth), Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/ Michelin, sixth), Takuma Sato (BAR-Honda/Michelin, seventh), Marc Gené (Ralf Schumacher's stand-in with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin, eighth), Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin, ninth), Cristiano da Matta (Panasonic Toyota Racing/Michelin, 11th) and Mark Webber (Jaguar Racing/Michelin, 12th).
Although his weekend got off to a troubled start - he crashed his car heavily during Friday morning's free practice session - Williams-BMW star Juan Pablo Montoya has set the weekend's fastest lap so far. He posted a 1m 13.377s during today'spre-qualifying session.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"I don't think we should be too surprised by today's result. We have seen in the past that Michelin is ultra-competitive at Magny-Cours - not because we are based relatively close to the track, but because we understand its subtleties. The proof? We lost the race in 2002 few laps before the end and our tyres were dominant last year, when Ralf Schumacher scored a comfortable victory for Williams."
"Magny-Cours is a bit like three circuits in one and the trick is to find a compromise that allows you deliver maximum performance over a whole lap, rather than just in one particular sector. I'd like to congratulate Fernando Alonso and Renault on doing precisely that today. I'd also like to compliment all of our six partner teams. Yesterday's adverse weather denied them valuable track time, but the qualifying result illustrates that they have adapted very well in challenging circumstances. Our tyres have played their part and I am delighted with the way they have performed."