Jordan Grand Prix experienced another qualifying session of mixed emotions today as Jarno Trulli claimed sixth fastest time but Heinz-Harald Frentzen, through a combination of unfortunate circumstances, will start his home Grand Prix from 17th on...
Jordan Grand Prix experienced another qualifying session of mixed emotions today as Jarno Trulli claimed sixth fastest time but Heinz-Harald Frentzen, through a combination of unfortunate circumstances, will start his home Grand Prix from 17th on the grid. The start of the 60-minute session coincided with the arrival of a rain shower, nearly all of the drivers taking to the track on dry-weather tyres in an effort to secure a quick time in case the slick conditions got even worse. The rain eased slightly, came back briefly, stopped again and then drenched the 4.2-mile track seconds after qualifying had finished.
'Considering the problems I have had throughout the weekend so far, I'm very happy with sixth place,' said Trulli. 'We found that the floor was broken this morning, which was why I was losing downforce. With that fixed for this afternoon, the car felt very good but, in these difficult conditions, you needed to be lucky. I managed to set a time while avoiding the worst of the rain and traffic. The team did a very good job today. I pleased to be on the third row.'
Frentzen had been one of the first cars onto the greasy track at the start of qualifying. During his initial lap, Frentzen took to an escape road to avoid two slow cars in front. The stewards later decided to penalise Frentzen for overtaking in an illegal manner and removed his one and only fast lap time at that point (which had been good enough for 12th fastest time). Heinz-Harald therefore had his work cut out since the conditions had become much worse and he needed to set a time to at least qualify within 107 per cent of Coulthard's pole position lap. Frentzen managed it with 17th fastest but could not improve due to traffic in the closing stages.
'Things just didn't work out,' said Heinz-Harald. 'With or without the time which was disallowed, it would have been very difficult. I just didn't find a proper slot when the track was at its best and free of traffic. I'm disappointed, of course, but at least I know the car is working well in all conditions. I'm looking forward to good race. It's going to be very interesting!'