TRULLI LEADS THE WAY AS MICHELIN TAKES POLE IN MONTE CARLO Michelin drivers have annexed the top three places on the grid as the French company prepares to challenge for its third consecutive victory in the world championship's most demanding ...
TRULLI LEADS THE WAY AS MICHELIN TAKES POLE IN MONTE CARLO
Michelin drivers have annexed the top three places on the grid as the French company prepares to challenge for its third consecutive victory in the world championship's most demanding grand prix. Jarno Trulli (Renault/Michelin) set the pace and his 1m 13.985s lap was 1.274s faster than Ralf Schumacher's quickest time in 2003. After several close calls in the past, it earned Trulli the first F1 pole of his career.
Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) was second quickest today, but he drops to 12th on the grid after picking up a 10-position penalty in the wake of an engine change on Thursday. Michelin drivers Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda) and Fernando Alonso (Renault) move up to second and third as a result.
Several other Michelin drivers have an excellent opportunity to obtain strong results tomorrow. Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes, sixth) led the way from Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda, eighth), David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes, ninth) and 2003 winner Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 10th). All four will move up one place on the grid as a consequence of Schumacher's penalty.
Jaguar/Michelin star Mark Webber's troublesome Monaco weekend has continued. The Australian, who lost valuable track time on Thursday after his car caught fire, had an engine problem during this morning's final free practice session. He was 12th fastest in qualifying.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"It remains to be seen which strategies our partners and rivals have chosen for tomorrow's race, but I am very satisfied with the job Michelin has done so far this weekend. Monaco is a very demanding track: average speeds might be low compared to other venues, but drivers - and tyres - have to work incredibly hard all the way around the lap. This is our third consecutive pole position here - and I am optimistic that are in good shape to challenge for our third straight Monte Carlo victory tomorrow."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:
"Our three dry-weather tyre compounds will all be used in the grand prix: they performed very well in Thursday's free practice and continued to do so today. I was briefly concerned that we might have been a little too conservative with our choices but that soon subsided. Our qualifying performance proves that we got our calculations right and tomorrow's race promises to be fascinating."