French GP Saturday Stewart notes

Magny Cours, Saturday 26th June, 1999 Weather: Raining heavily throughout the session Rubens Barrichello gave the Stewart-Ford team their first pole position. He was one of the few drivers to go out early when conditions were less treacherous....

Magny Cours, Saturday 26th June, 1999 Weather: Raining heavily throughout the session

Rubens Barrichello gave the Stewart-Ford team their first pole position. He was one of the few drivers to go out early when conditions were less treacherous. He also set the fastest time in this morning's free practice in dry conditions.

Johnny Herbert qualified in ninth place - his best qualifying performance this year.

RUBENS BARRICHELLO Car No.16 (SF3-04) Time: 1.38:441 (Pole Position) five laps

How does it feel to record the second pole position of your Formula One career?

'I'm so happy for everyone in the team. I was confident after being fastest this morning and when the rain came for qualifying I felt that would give me an edge. Everyone has worked so hard, we knew we had a good car this year and days like today prove that we can compete with the best.

Your timing was perfect. Why did you decide to go out when you did?

'I thought it was best to get a time in the bank because my information was that the weather would deteriorate. When I saw Jean Alesi go out so early I said to the crew 'let's go'. It worked in my favour because the rain persisted. When I went out again late in the session for another run the track was so wet I knew that my time couldn't be beaten. The forecast is for more rain tomorrow, so if I can have a clean race, I'd love to deliver a win for the Stewart-Ford team.'

JOHNNY HERBERT Car No.17 (SF3-05) Time: 1.42:199 (Position: ninth) seven laps

What was your strategy for qualifying?

'Most teams seemed to have used the same weather man who predicted it was going to clear up towards the end of the session! We decided to wait and then do 12 laps in one go to take advantage of what we thought were going to be drying conditions. However as the session wore on it became obvious the rain was going to continue so we had to make set-up changes which took some time.'

Why did you change to the spare car after a few laps?

'I set my fastest time in the race car and was going to stay out. My race car developed a problem with the electronics so I had to go back and get in the spare car. Unfortunately it had a lower set-up than the race car which was no good in today's conditions.'

PAUL STEWART, SGP Deputy Chairman 'A team's first pole position is always very special. I'm extremely happy for Rubens and everybody in the Stewart-Ford team who have been aiming for this for a long time. I arrived at Magny Cours confident that we would put in a good performance whether it was wet or dry. However it seems we had an edge in the wet and chose the right strategy. I'm sure Johnny would have been up there with Rubens if he had been able to stay out in his race car.'

MARTIN WHITAKER, Director, Ford Racing, Europe 'We are absolutely delighted with the Stewart-Ford team's first pole position. This is Ford's 139th pole position - a record unequalled by any other manufacturer - and our first since the Japanese Grand Prix in 1994. Everybody has worked hard throughout the weekend and even though we chose the correct strategy for qualifying, when Rubens went out early, our potential was underlined in this morning's Free Practice where Rubens was fastest as well.'

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Rubens Barrichello , Jean Alesi