Panasonic Toyota Racing endured an afternoon of frustration in qualifying for the European Grand Prix on the streets of Valencia, Spain today. After a disrupted morning practice, in which around 28 minutes were lost due to a red flag for oil on the track, qualifying began under blue
skies with air temperatures of 31 o.C and track temperatures hitting 47 o.C. In common with recent qualifying sessions, a close fight was expected and the competition was as hot as the conditions on the 5.419km street track around Valencia's America's Cup harbour. Both Jarno Trulli
and Timo Glock started first qualifying using the soft compound Bridgestone Potenza tyre but switched to the super soft option for a final stint on low fuel. Timo saved his best for last and progressed thanks to a battling final flying lap but Jarno, who crossed the line just in front of his team-mate, missed out. Timo again used the super soft tyres for his fastest flying laps in second qualifying and ended the session 13th, just 0.209secs outside of the top 10.
"That wasn't a good result. We struggled a bit for pace this morning in the short third practice and in the end we were just a couple of tenths away from being in the top 10, which is a pity. I was having trouble in first qualifying but in the second session the car wasn't too bad until the final corners when the rear tyres dropped off quite a lot. I was pushing to the maximum but the tyres didn't really survive. So we have to start again from 13th as we did in Hungary and try to repeat what we did there by finding a way to get into the points. It will be a difficult task but I will do everything I can." Jarno Trulli
"I was expecting qualifying to be a bit difficult but not as bad as that. This morning the car felt reasonable even if we were a little short of grip. But it was much worse in qualifying; I really had no grip and there was nothing I could do. I just kept pushing and took a few more risks than normal but it didn't work out. I don't know why we struggled so much; it is a mystery to me. For the race tomorrow I can just do my best and see what happens."
Pascal Vasselon - Senior General Manager Chassis:
"We can only be unhappy about that result as it is another extremely disappointing qualifying for us. In the last races we have shown that our race pace is better and gives us a chance to move up the field, although obviously that will be tough. Now we have to take a close look at all our options to see how we can fight back as we did in Hungary. Track conditions are changing continuously so we will look at the effect of that on the tyres for the race and try to make the best of it."