IMOLA, ITALY, April 8, 2000 - Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda shrugged off niggling mechanical problems to qualify its drivers ninth and fourteenth for tomorrow's San Marino Grand Prix. Yesterday, Jacques Villeneuve lost valuable track time...
IMOLA, ITALY, April 8, 2000 - Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda shrugged off niggling mechanical problems to qualify its drivers ninth and fourteenth for tomorrow's San Marino Grand Prix. Yesterday, Jacques Villeneuve lost valuable track time while the engine and gearbox of his BAR Honda 002 were replaced. Today, it was team mate, Ricardo Zonta, who had to wait patiently while his mechanics performed a quick engine change between the two 45-minute morning practice sessions. Despite the reduced track time, however, both men were soon on the pace, Zonta's performance being praiseworthy for the fact this weekend marks his first-ever race at the Imola circuit.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE Position: 9th Fastest lap: 1:26.124 Speed: 206.200 km/h
"My first two qualifying runs were pretty bad, then finally, on the last run, we changed the set-up of the car and it was really good, but then there was a yellow flag. I guess I have the memory of Suzuka and the yellow flag in 1997 in my mind and I slowed down and lost four or five-tenths. They were still my best laps, so I am a little disappointed because we lost fourth or fifth place there, but the car was good at the end and should be strong to battle with tomorrow."
RICARDO ZONTA Position: 14th Fastest lap: 1:26.814 Speed: 204.561 km/h
"I would have liked to have qualified higher, but we lost quite a lot of practice time this morning when we had to stop for an engine change. Also, we weren't able to do a back-to-back tyre comparison and my engineer, Dave Lloyd, and I had to make a guess as to which of the Bridgestone tyre compounds to use. In the end, the car felt well balanced so I think we made the right decision. Now I hope I have good luck for my first San Marino Grand Prix tomorrow."
JOCK CLEAR, Race Engineer (Jacques Villeneuve), British American Racing
"It's a bit of a disappointing result, really. We were playing catch-up as a result of all the time we lost yesterday and Jacques lost a couple of potentially quick laps today because of yellow flags. As ever, though, tomorrow's another day and it's a case of focusing on our preparations for the race."
DAVID LLOYD, Race Engineer (Ricardo Zonta), British American Racing
"Today, Ricardo's car seemed to have all the mechanical gremlins that afflicted Jacques yesterday. In fact, Ricardo's performance is not at all bad considering this is his first visit to Imola and he qualified less than seven-tenths of a second behind Jacques. It was also noticeable that we kept the chassis set-up pretty much the same this afternoon and he was finding time from within himself rather than by making changes. He's in a group where the times are very close so if he gets a good start tomorrow and we have quick pit stops, a decent result could be on the cards."