Panasonic Toyota Racing will line up with a car on the third row of the grid for the first time in 2007 after Jarno Trulli's fine qualifying performance at Barcelona today. It was another sunny day at the Circuit de Catalunya and track temperatures were again about 50° Celsius. Jarno made the most of his flying laps to make it into Q3 where he eventually took 6th place with a fine lap.
Ralf Schumacher was less fortunate, hitting traffic in Q1 and finishing in 17th place, narrowly missing out on Q2. He will face a hard afternoon's work to make up ground from there tomorrow. Nonetheless Toyota will now push to make the most of these positions. The team has enjoyed 100 percent reliability in the year's three races so far so it will look to continue that with a fourth straight points finish in the race.
"That was a good job by the whole team and the mechanics and today was a great result. It was a very difficult qualifying session and we managed to keep cool when it was difficult and really stressful at the beginning. We nearly missed out on making it through Q1 because I hit traffic and I had to do the time on a second lap on old tyres. Thankfully we managed it so that was a good job."
"I was also happy with my lap in Q2, then in Q3 I really went for it on my last run on new tyres and P6 is a great performance. We expected to go well here because we have a new aerodynamics package that seems to be working well. So we have made a good step forward but we will keep pushing to improve more and more."
"That result was a pity but this has been a difficult weekend and that was a difficult qualifying session. One reason for my struggle in Q1 was that I had traffic on my last flying run. I was on a two-lap run but I met a car on its warm-up lap in the last sector of the first lap, spoiling both that and the following lap. That means the qualifying time is not representative of what we are capable of."
"But I've also found grip hard to come by both in practice and in qualifying so we obviously have work to do. Our race pace should be better so let's see how we can do tomorrow even if it will be a tough afternoon from this grid position. Barcelona is not known for overtaking but the track has been changed so we'll see."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis:
"After last week's test we had the clear feeling that we were much closer to BMW and this is what has happened. But so far this has been an even more character-building weekend than usual and we've had a series of ups and downs. In P1 yesterday we were looking good but we had some problems in P2 that meant we could not be certain about our pace."
"This morning went well but we still had some balance problems. Finally now in qualifying we are where we expected to be with Jarno. Of course, he only just made it through Q1 after hitting traffic. But he did a great job and his final outings in Q2 and Q3 were brilliant. Ralf had even bigger problems with traffic in Q1 and he narrowly missed out, which was a pity because his pace would have made the top ten as well."
"For the first time this season the two tyres were close in terms of pace so we changed our run plan to have two flying runs in Q3, one with the prime and one with the option. That contributed to our performance compared to what we have managed so far this year. Now we will look to make the most from tomorrow's race."
PROVISIONAL GRID: 6th Q1: 13th
Lap Time: 1m 22.501s (+1.381s)
Lap Time: 1m 21.554s (+0.957s)
Lap Time: 1m 22.324s (+0.903s)
PROVISIONAL GRID: 17th
Lap Time: 1m 22.666s (+1.546s)