Panasonic Toyota Racing will start tomorrow's United States Grand Prix from its highest ever grid position after Olivier Panis posted a sensational 3rd fastest time in second qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today. Cristiano da Matta...
Panasonic Toyota Racing will start tomorrow's United States Grand Prix from its highest ever grid position after Olivier Panis posted a sensational 3rd fastest time in second qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today. Cristiano da Matta was forced to jump in the T-car after his race car developed an engine-related problem during the lunchtime warm-up session. The Brazilian still set a competitive qualifying time and ended up ninth to score the team's fourth double top ten of the year.
"This is a brilliant result for the entire team. I have not started a race on the second row of the grid since the Grand Prix in Argentina back in 1997. I am looking forward to having some fun in the race tomorrow alongside some of the most competitive drivers in the field. We have had a mixed season in terms of results, but it is fabulous to see the rewards of our non-stop efforts. I know that we are not yet in a position to fight for victory, but we have a good car and I expect to pick up a lot of points tomorrow to try and catch BAR-Honda and Jaguar, our nearest rivals in the championship."
Cristiano da Matta:
"All things considered I think my lap today was okay. Unfortunately, I had to switch to the spare car at the last minute because the engine was overheating during the warm-up session and we didn't want to take any risks. The T-car was set-up for me anyway, but even so you always lose out by some tenths-of-a-second, which is critical when the field is as tight as it is here. For tomorrow's race things should be pretty good; the car has been running strongly all weekend, so I think that if the weather stays dry we should be looking for points."
Ove Andersson - Team Principal:
"I am speechless! In only our 32nd race, we have qualified a Toyota on the second row of the grid after Olivier took third place with a really impressive lap. It was a shame that Cristiano had to jump into the T-car, which almost certainly affected his time, but he drove a solid lap to score ninth and another double top ten qualifying result for the team. The atmosphere in the garage during that session was absolutely remarkable and I have to say a big thank you to all the guys for producing such a fantastic result. The cars have looked competitive since first thing yesterday morning and if luck is on our side tomorrow, we should expect to pick up a few points."
Car Number 20, Chassis TF103/08
Session Classification: 3rd
Lap Time: 1m11.920s, +0.250s from pole
Running Order: 7th
Cristiano da Matta
Car Number 21, Chassis TF103/02 (T-car)
Session Classification: 9th
Lap Time: 1m12.326s, +0.656s from pole
Running Order: 10th