TRULLI EARNS FIRST F1 POLE FOR TOYOTA IN USGP QUALIFYING INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, June 18, 2005 - Jarno Trulli scored the first pole for the Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula One team with a lap of 1 minute, 10.625 seconds, 132.893 mph in...
TRULLI EARNS FIRST F1 POLE FOR TOYOTA IN USGP QUALIFYING
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, June 18, 2005 - Jarno Trulli scored the first pole for the Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula One team with a lap of 1 minute, 10.625 seconds, 132.893 mph in qualifying June 18 for the sixth running of the United States Grand Prix.
The pole is the first for Trulli this season and the third of his career. The lap was the fastest of the 2005 USGP weekend but did not beat the track record of 1:10.223 set by Rubens Barrichello in 2004 qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
West McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen will start second after posting a lap of 1:10.694, 132.651. Raikkonen was fastest in the fourth and final pre-qualifying practice session, but he ran approximately .05 of a second slower in qualifying while Trulli gained nearly .9 of a second.
Jenson Button continued his streak of solid qualifying results by putting his Lucky Strike BAR Honda in third place on the starting grid with a lap of 1:11.277, 131.566. Button won the pole at the Canadian Grand Prix one week ago in Montreal.
The 73-lap United States Grand Prix starts at 2 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. It will be televised live on Speed Channel.
Trulli's fast lap came one day after his Toyota teammate, Ralf Schumacher, was involved in an accident in Turn 13 of the 2.605-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Schumacher made heavy contact with the SAFER Barrier then exited the car under his own power. The team's third driver, Ricardo Zonta, replaced Schumacher for the weekend after Schumacher was ruled out of action for the event by FIA Medical Delegate Gary Hartstein.
Schumacher's crash was among several worries for teams that use Michelin tires this weekend. Michelin teams have struggled for grip.
"Up to now there has been a little bit of mixed emotion this weekend," Trulli said. "We have done very limited mileage, but we have done the best today that we can do trying to guess about the tires, the setup and everything. I'm really glad about the outcome of today's qualifying.
"We have done very small laps the previous day and even today. This morning I've only done 10 laps, not even consecutive. We adjusted to get some more grip out of it because this Indianapolis circuit has always been a bit slippery, and I think today was a missed day because we had some problems and some decisions to make before tomorrow's race."
Despite his qualifying momentum after starting first at Montreal June 12, Button was pleased just to start toward the front of the grid. Like Trulli, Button found difficulty in keeping his BAR Honda stuck to the track.
"It's nice to get two good qualifyings, but it was not the best lap," said Button. "I struggled a lot, just very low grip, so it is great to be third. It's nice to be here, and I think we can do some good things tomorrow. Our strategy is a good one. I am looking forward to it."
West McLaren Mercedes driver Juan Pablo Montoya was fastest in the first, second and third event pre-qualifying practice sessions but was forced to qualify early due to being disqualified in Canada, and will start 11th. Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 champion, said qualifying early cost him dearly in the ultra-competitive race for the USGP pole.
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro teammates Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello will start fifth and seventh, respectively. It's the first time in the six-year history of this event that a Ferrari will not start on the front row. Seven-time World Champion Schumacher has won this race three times, while Barrichello has won once.
Tickets: Tickets for the United States Grand Prix can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.