Another promising performance from Jaguar Racing as the first of the two one-hour qualifying sessions got underway at Imola this afternoon. A track temperature of 40 degrees Celsius greeted drivers Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia as they joined...
Another promising performance from Jaguar Racing as the first of the two one-hour qualifying sessions got underway at Imola this afternoon. A track temperature of 40 degrees Celsius greeted drivers Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia as they joined the qualifying session in 14th and 18th positions respectively. Mark yet again demonstrated the full potential of both the Jaguar R4 and himself by qualifying an impressive 5th place behind the Ferraris and BMW Williams while Antonio managed 15th place.
Because of problems with his race car, Antonio not only missed considerable track time during the morning Free Practice sessions but he was also forced to switch to the spare car for qualifying. The fuel pick-up issue that has meant carrying extra fuel in the first three races of the season was addressed last week during a 50km test session at Silverstone (UK) and so far this weekend, the problem has not re-occurred thereby allowing the Jaguar R4 to demonstrate its true form for the first time this season.
Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance:
"We did a lot of homework in the week leading up to this race and so far, the results have been very good indeed. We have gone a long way towards solving the fuel pick-up issue was has heavily penalised our performance over the first three races and today was the first time we have gone into qualifying on an equal footing with the other teams.
"The fact that Mark has gone 5th fastest today is the clearest indication yet of the improved direction that Jaguar Racing is taking, albeit we still have a long way to go before we are completely happy. Mark did another superb job this afternoon and given that we have out-qualified both Renaults and McLaren-Mercedes in true qualifying trim, it's very clear to see the progress we have made relative to last year."
"We are taking full advantage of the two-hour testing session in that we are using the T-car to full effect, undertaking tyre comparisons, working on race preparation and getting ready for Friday qualifying. The Jaguar R4 seems very competitive around this circuit and given that we are testing new bits here, the performance is all the more encouraging. Combined with tremendous Cosworth power and the excellent Michelin tyre, we are very satisfied indeed going into the second qualifying phase tomorrow."
"I couldn't have wished for a better start to the weekend. Our preparation going into the qualifying session was very thorough and I am very pleased with my lap time. My first sector could have been better but my last sector was very good. The challenge of putting in one quick, trouble-free lap is far from easy and I'm very pleased with the balance and performance of the car."
"We must remember however, that the track gets quicker towards the end of the session and with that in mind, the guys going out at the beginning are not getting exactly the same deal. Even so, we are very satisfied with the progression of the Jaguar R4 - especially when you consider that Imola was by far the hardest race for Jaguar last year. The team suffered from every problem imaginable at this circuit last year and Imola normally provides the 'wake-up' call for many teams after the first three flyaway races. To go well here is a clear endorsement of the package and the tremendous hard work that has been undertaken over the winter by everyone at Jaguar Racing, Cosworth Racing and Pi Electronics."
"Imola is a very demanding circuit and puts considerable demands on balance, braking, traction and engines. The early signs going into the weekend are very good but let's see what tomorrow brings. The weather is expected to change to rain on Sunday and given this, it will be very interesting to see what strategies the teams employ tomorrow."
"My track time was compromised this morning by an engine problem and this prevented me from doing a low-fuel run in preparation for the qualifying hour. The fuel load makes a considerable difference to the car's handling characteristics, particularly under braking and not having familiarised myself with this during the Free Practice session cost me some time during qualifying."
"Given that I was in the T- car, there was also a limit as to how much set-up time I had pre-qualifying but to honest, I am not worried. The fact is that we have a very capable race car which is clearly a major step forward on last year's R3 and given that the real test of qualifying is tomorrow, we'll focus on improving my set-up overnight in an effort to realise the full potential of the package we have."
Best time: 1:21.669
Best time: 1:22.919