AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING [25.07.98] HIGH DRAMA IN QUALIFYING A1 Ring, Spielberg, Austria, July 25 1998 -- Once again, it was the weather that imposed itself on the Formula One teams during their preparations for tomorrow's Austrian...
AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING [25.07.98]
HIGH DRAMA IN QUALIFYING
A1 Ring, Spielberg, Austria, July 25 1998 -- Once again, it was the weather that imposed itself on the Formula One teams during their preparations for tomorrow's Austrian Grand Prix. In a dramatic, rain-soaked qualifying session that saw virtually every competitor spin or slide off the track, Tyrrell drivers, Toranosuke Takagi and Ricardo Rosset both suffered "off-course excursions" in the process of setting the 20th and 22nd fastest times of the afternoon respectively. As conditions began to improve slightly, the team called Takagi in for a lightning-quick change from Goodyear wet tyres to intermediates, but the Japanese driver was unable to make a significant improvement on his time. Rosset remained on wets throughout and, like Takagi, put in his fastest lap during the dying minutes of the one-hour session.
TORANOSUKE TAKAGI (No 21) Qualifying position: 20th Best lap: 1:34.090
"It was a very difficult afternoon. I was caught out by the puddles and the changing surface camber at Turn One on my first run out of the pits and punctured a rear tyre as a result. I returned to the pits and after the mechanics had checked my car over, we went back out for a longer run in the hope that the track would begin to dry. Late in the session it did and the team called me in for a change to intermediate tyres. That allowed me to improve my time slightly, but not as much as I felt we could have. Still, I think we have come up with a good set-up for the race so I will be hoping for dry weather tomorrow."
RICARDO ROSSET (No 20) Qualifying position: 22nd Best lap: 1:34.910
"My first two laps out of the pits were really bad. The car was oversteering very strongly and we were struggling with traction. There were rivers of water running across the circuit in places and it was a major achievement just to keep the car pointing in the right direction. It was very, very difficult out there. I was as high as 15th on the timing screens at one point, which was good, but then the surface began to dry and quite a few drivers went quicker. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough laps to take advantage of the rapidly improving conditions. Like Tora, I hope it will be a dry race."