A combination of driving skill, good fortune and benevolent weather gods helped Minardi Cosworth achieve one of its better qualifying results of the season at the Spa Francorchamps circuit this afternoon. Drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt ...
A combination of driving skill, good fortune and benevolent weather gods helped Minardi Cosworth achieve one of its better qualifying results of the season at the Spa Francorchamps circuit this afternoon. Drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner wrung the maximum from their cars in the treacherously slippery conditions created by torrential rain that soaked the famous Belgian circuit.
In fact, the weather in the Ardennes region was very much the talking point of the day, the rain and accompanying mist that greeted F1 teams on Saturday morning forcing a delay, and eventual shortening, of the two scheduled 45-minute practice sessions. Drivers thus had only 15 minutes and a handful of laps to acclimatise to the wet track and prepare for qualifying.
Unfortunately, Bruni was one of the casualties of this "pressure cooker" situation, his car aquaplaning on standing water and crashing at turn eight. Happily, the young Roman suffered nothing worse than a bruised knee in the impact, while his Minardi Cosworth PS04B required only relatively minor repairs before it was ready for qualifying action.
With the forecast indicating similarly unpredictable weather tomorrow, there is every indication the 2004 Belgian Grand Prix is going to be an action-packed one.
"This was a good qualifying session for me without any mistakes. It was a pity that I wasn't able to drive for many laps this morning, as we weren't able to find the perfect chassis set-up. The car felt a bit different in qualifying from the way it did this morning, and was not so easy to drive. If everything had been perfect, I think I could have qualified perhaps two positions farther up the grid. I have to say, though, the guys did a great job today, and I want to thank them for all their effort."
"I think it has been a good day. We ran well in the pre-qualifying session and, despite the wet weather, I felt very comfortable with the car. It was a shame in the qualifying run, though, that I couldn't equal, or improve on, my previous lap time. Unfortunately, I made a couple of mistakes in sectors two and three that cost me quite a bit of time. The car is good, though, and we hope tomorrow will be wet, as it will improve our chances of a good result."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth:
"All weekend, the team has performed competitively against its nearest rivals. To finish today's qualifying session between the Jordans and ahead of a Toyota is proof of an excellent effort and a job well done by both drivers and all team members. Let's hope tomorrow delivers Minardi a just result."
Chassis: PS04B/02 (No.20)
Best lap: 2 min 02.651 secs
Chassis: PS04B/01 (No.21)
Best lap: 2 min 03.303 secs