Imola, Saturday May 1, 1999 -- For Lucky Strike Racing driver Jacques Villeneuve and his pit crew, success meant coming in fifth during today's qualifying for Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix. With a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the...
Imola, Saturday May 1, 1999 -- For Lucky Strike Racing driver Jacques Villeneuve and his pit crew, success meant coming in fifth during today's qualifying for Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix.
With a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the hour-long, official qualifying period, Villeneuve turned in a lap of one minute, 27.313 seconds to secure fifth position on Sunday's grid, behind only the two top teams of McLaren and Ferrari.
The top five places on Sunday's grid belonged to: Mika Hakkinen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:26.362; David Coulthard, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:26.384; Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 1:26.538; Eddie Irvine, Ferrari, 1:26.993; and Jacques Villeneuve, Lucky Strike Racing, 1:27.313.
"It's been a long time since I have had such a good qualifying lap. I am very pleased because this is the first time since the start of the season that we've been able to push the car without making too many changes," said Villeneuve."
Sporting bright blond hair that rivalled the northern Italian sun, the Canadian was determined to put any unpleasant memories of Brazil behind and take the Lucky Strike Racing team to a position which he felt should have been theirs from the start.
"In Brazil we got it wrong and didn't find the right set-up at all. But here with my race engineer Jock Clear and the team, we worked hard and found a really good set-up. My car felt good and it allowed me to keep attacking. I could push it harder and harder and it reacted well, unlike the first two Grands Prix."
While excited and smiling team members congratulated each other on a good result, Managing Director Craig Pollock acknowledged the determination and group spirit shown by the Lucky Strike Racing boys. "The team has been great all weekend and the car looks as if it's getting there. The work of the engineers and the driver has been exceptional. Reliability is obviously getting better so it is a question of carrying on in the right direction."
On the eve of a third Grand Prix for the Lucky Strike Racing team, Villeneuve is optimistic. "I am quite confident about Sunday but it's a long and hard way to the finish and the guys in front of me are definitely quicker. We've been generally better during the race than in qualifying so let's hope it will be the same on Sunday and that we will finish the race."
The San Marino Grand Prix gets under way at 1400 hrs local time.