ACTION-PACKED MONACO QUALIFYING In the end, KL Minardi Asiatech drivers Mark Webber and Alex Yoong qualified comfortably for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Monaco, but not before there had been some heart-stopping moments in the team's pits. The...
ACTION-PACKED MONACO QUALIFYING
In the end, KL Minardi Asiatech drivers Mark Webber and Alex Yoong qualified comfortably for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Monaco, but not before there had been some heart-stopping moments in the team's pits. The dramas began when Yoong locked the brakes of his car while slowing for the Ste Devote corner on his first flying lap of the afternoon and hit the barriers. Webber faired rather better, his time on the second run assuring him of a spot on the grid for the race. Unfortunately, his next run was badly delayed when an oil radiator was holed by debris and had to be replaced. In the meantime, the team had readied the spare car for Yoong, who went on to qualify for tomorrow's field, while Webber's attempt at further improving his lap time was thwarted by the usual Monaco "traffic". He ended the session in 19th place.
"It was a very frustrating day because I damaged the car when I slid on Irvine's oil in the second session, with the result that we were in a slightly difficult position for qualifying. The guys did an amazing job, however, to get the car ready for the afternoon session. I had quite a good lap on my second run and was looking forward to the next two runs. Unfortunately, when I left to start the third run I had hydraulic problems and had to be pulled back to the pits. This meant we were out on track very late for my last possible run once the problem had been fixed and I found Felipe Massa driving in front of me around 15 km/h slower, so there was no chance of improving my lap time. It's difficult for everybody here at Monaco, but I really feel we should have been ahead of Villeneuve. We know we could have done much better, but it just didn't happen in the last 15 minutes of the session."
"I braked at the same spot for Ste Devote as usual on that first run, but the track was slippery, I locked up and slid into the barrier. In hindsight, I should have gone down the escape road rather than try to make the corner, and that mistake really spoiled the session for me. The guys did a great job to convert the spare car to my settings in a very short time, but even so, it wasn't the same as the race car, and it also wasn't fitted with power steering. In the end, we qualified, which is what counts, but I felt it was possible at least to 'split' the Jaguars, or maybe even out-qualify both of them today."
PAUL STODDART, Team Principal
"Despite our cars qualifying P19 and P22, today was ultimately disappointing, as the combination of Mark's talent, a well-balanced car and a very competitive tyre from Michelin was denied what should have been the team's best qualifying performance so far this year. It was realistic to think P14 or P15 was possible, and had it not been for the time lost switching over the spare car and replacing a damaged oil radiator, I'm sure we would done just that. Alex performed under pressure after having an 'off' on his first flying lap and set a competitive time. We now look forward to tomorrow's Monaco Grand Prix, where anything is possible."
THE ASIATECH VIEW
Today saw a reliable performance from the Asiatech engines in the difficult conditions prevailing on the very selective Monaco circuit.