mayo 07, 2005

Trulli storms to provisional Pole

Trulli storms to provisional Pole
Spanish GP - Saturday qualifying

Jarno Trulli claimed the provisional Pole Position for the Spanish Grand Prix in style this afternoon at Circuit de Catalunya. The Toyota driver stopped the clocks with a best lap of 1:14.795s, just 0.016s ahead of Fernando Alonso in the Renault.

"I am a bit surprised to be here, it was so windy out there," Trull admitted. "I was confident, but lost some grip today and was not too sure so this is a great result for me. I did a good job, but I am not too sure about tomorrow. This feels like an unexpected result for me."

Alonso was the final runner on track courtesy of his San Marino triumph and the packed stands at the Spanish circuit made it pretty clear which driver they were supporting. The lap looked to be good enough for Pole, but running slightly deep into a right-hander at the end of the lap saw Alonso miss out on the number one slot overnight.

"The crowd is fantastic here and it is a great motivation for me," said Alonso. "I only did a little running today to preserve the car in the morning. It is a great pleasure to race in front of this kind of crowd though and I felt I did my fastest and best lap in Formula One today for me! It will be great tomorrow. I felt the grandstands were like 80 per cent full today and tomorrow it will be even more with another qualifying and then the race. It is going to be fantastic. For all of us."

It was an incredibly close contest at the sharp end of the field with less than a tenth of a second covering the fastest four runners. With Trulli on Pole from Alonso, third place fell to Kimi Raikkonen who was just the fourth runner on track in this session. It was a mighty effort from the Finn and he will almost certainly be one to watch in Sunday qualifying as he and the MP4-20 look very well tuned to the 4.627 KM circuit.

Ralf Schumacher put in a good lap in the second Toyota and sits in fourth position overnight ahead of the BMW Williams duo of Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber who took fifth and sixth positions. Heidfeld will lose ten places on the grid for Sunday’s race however due to an engine change on Friday.

Try as he might, even Michael Schumacher could not find a great deal of pace in his Ferrari. Chasing his seventh win at the Spanish circuit Schumacher put in a good lap to qualify in seventh position ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Renault and his unfortunate team-mate Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian is another driver who will lose ten places on the grid prior to tomorrow’s race as Ferrari found a problem with the V10 ahead of qualifying and changes the engine.

David Coulthard had a steady mistake-free lap to qualifying the leading Red Bull Cosworth in tenths position with team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi in 13th. Felipe Massa did a solid job to qualify his Sauber Petronas in 11th while Juan Pablo Montoya complained of a lack of grip and had a pretty poor lap and he sits 12th overnight with a lot of work to do in Sunday qualifying.

Jacques Villeneuve qualified the second Sauber Petronas in 14th position ahead of the Jordan Toyota duo of Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro. Christijan Albers retained the upper hand over Patrick Freisacher again in the Minardi Cosworth battle for 17th.

With 0.075s covering the top four qualifiers, the grid order for the race could well change as just one small error could prove costly. For now, Jarno Trulli is on top with Toyota, but do not discount Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen snatching the Pole on Sunday morning.

© CAPSIS International