Round 4 Qualifying At A1 Ring, Austria
10th May 2002
Sebastien Bourdais' golden qualifying run came to an end today during qualifying for round four of the championship at Austria. During the first session Sebastien was again setting some impressive times and never dropped out of the top 4 for the whole of the session. However during the second half of the first session and the whole of the second session, Sebastien was not happy with the level of grip that the car gave him and unfortunately dropped down the table to finish in ninth position. Tiago Monteiro had yet another new circuit to learn during qualifying today. In the first session he only used one set of new tyres and finished sixteenth quickest. During the second session he continued to improve his knowledge of the circuit and moved up to fifteenth. After qualifying had finished Tiago's two best lap times were disallowed because it was alleged that he had not slowed down when a yellow flag was displayed at the end of the second session ! but it did not affect his qualifying position. Antonio Pizzonia in fifth position was also penalised for the same thing which meant that Sebastien gained one position on the grid.
Tomas Enge took pole position ahead of the winner of the last race, Giorgio Pantano.
Sebastien Bourdais 1:22.509 (P8)
"I have no explanation really but the car did not have enough grip to push hard and there was a balance problem. Sometimes the car was oversteering and some times understeering so it is going to be difficult to take good analysis from the data. But tomorrow is a long race and we have to do a lot of work tonight, it's the first time that we haven't been on pole. At the beginning of the first session we were pretty quick but after my best lap the grip started to decrease so I decided to stop to try and balance the car a bit better but after this the F1 rubber had gone off and it was not possible to improve the car."
Tiago Monteiro 1:23.379 (P15)
"I am quite happy with everything overall, although I'm still in fifteenth place, which I don't like, I did improve my driving a lot today. The car had too much oversteer in the fast turns, but apart from that everything else on the car was ok but it wasn't easy to drive here at all, as you can see from Sebastien's performance, he has been on pole for the last three races but found it tough today. I'm getting closer, I was only seven tenths away from him today. It will be a long race tomorrow and the first lap will be very dangerous as there are always lots of accidents so I have to try and stay clear of them."
Team Manager - David Sears
"This was quite the worst qualifying performance of the year so far with Sebastien Bourdais finishing in ninth place, but only 0.3 seconds off pole position and Tiago Monteiro in fifteenth position, 1.3 seconds back on his first visit to the circuit with no testing. Obviously our engineers need to work harder for the race tomorrow. Luckily the tyres last a long time on the super smooth surface of the A1 Ring so we have a chance to improve positions during this race."