Michelin Performance Monday - March 8 F1 News: Alonso scores first Michelin podium of '04 Fernando Alonso (Mild Seven Renault F1) finished an encouraging third in the opening Formula One event of the season in Australia as Michelin drivers...
Michelin Performance Monday - March 8
Alonso scores first Michelin podium of '04
Fernando Alonso (Mild Seven Renault F1) finished an encouraging third in the opening Formula One event of the season in Australia as Michelin drivers made their presence felt at the picturesque Albert Park track.
Alonso was only third fastest of the Michelin contingent in qualifying, but he made a terrific start from fifth on the grid to pass Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) and Jenson Button (B*A*R Honda) at the first corner.
"I made a great start, even though Montoya forced me onto the grass. After he out-braked himself at the first corner, I found myself third and from then on, it was pretty easy race," Alonso said.
Alonso calmly slotted into third position and held it all the way to the flag. Montoya lost time with a relatively slow first pit stop and slipped back to an eventual fifth, behind team-mate Ralf Schumacher, while Button finished an encouraging sixth to complete a satisfactory weekend for B*A*R, which was competing on Michelins for the first time.
Michelin drivers Jarno Trulli (Mild Seven Renault F1) and David Coulthard (West McLaren Mercedes) -- the highest-placed driver to opt for a two-stop strategy rather than three -- completed the points scorers.
Michelin has now set its sights on chasing down the Ferrari squad which recorded a 1-2 finish in Australia with Michael Schumacher beating team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
"We might not have won today but the season is in its formative stages and it will take a few races for the full picture to become clear," Michelin Director of Competition, Pierre Dupasquier said.
"The next few grands prix will be very important and we are working flat out with our partner teams in the never-ending quest for greater performance. I was encouraged by Fernando Alonso's performance today -- he was fast and consistent once again and Renault has promised that there are significant developments to come, which bodes well for the future."
Bostrom unlucky after setting Superbike pole
Eric Bostrom may have set the pole position and recorded the fastest lap of the race in the Daytona 200 AMA Superbike event this weekend but fortune was not with the Ducati rider in the opening round of the championship.
[permond_3_8_3.jpg] Bostrom broke the Daytona track record to set pole position on Wednesday, however, he fell out of Saturday's race with a broken oil cooler after challenging for the win. The race was won by Suzuki's Matt Mladin
"We didn't do any big set-up changes between the morning and this afternoon. The big difference were the Michelin qualifying tyres," factory engineer Ernesto Marinelli explained during the week on Crash.net.
The next round of the AMA Superbike championship will be staged at Fontana in California on April 2-4.
World Rally Championship heads to North America
The World Rally Championship returns to the North American continent for the first time since 1988 this week with the WRC stars competing in Mexico.
Rally Mexico has been staged as a non-championship event for the past two years with Peugeot's Harri Rovanpera winning in 2002.
Michelin has dominated the opening two rounds of the 2004 WRC with victories at Monte Carlo and Sweden by Sebastien Loab.
While snow (pictured right) has greeted teams in the opening two rounds of the 2004 Championship, Michelin will be supplying a range of gravel tires in Mexico.
Rally headquarters : Leon
Total distance : 1040.67
Total stage distance : 394.43
Surface type: Gravel
Number of stages: 15
* Malaysia, March 19-21
AMERICAN LE MANS
* Sebring, March 20
World Rally Championship
* Mexico, March 12-14
* St. Louis, March 13
* Indianapolis, March 20