|Toyota Set 2nd Quickest Time Of The Day|
|Better Race Shape For Toyota|
|Suzuka is one of the most challenging tracks on the F1 calendar and Zonta last drove at the track in 2000. His lap in 1m30.682s was just 0.15s slower than the fastest time of the day, a 1m30.532s lap from Team McLaren Mercedes third driver Pedro de la Rosa.|
Zonta explained: “I had a bit too much oversteer this morning when the surface was quite dusty, then I lost a bit of time with an electronic problem, but overall I think we are looking pretty good. I am driving the standard TF105 chassis while the race drivers are in the TF105B, but the tyre comparison is still relevant and I managed to finish the programme before the rain came.”
Ralf Schumacher set the 12th quickest time with a lap in 1m32.917s, while Jarno Trulli (1m33.122s) finished the day 14th quickest.
Schumacher said: “I always enjoy driving at Suzuka, especially for a Japanese team, and I think we have made a good start to the weekend. The new car should be more consistent over a race distance and I am optimistic that we can have a strong performance.”
Trulli, meanwhile, added: “We have made the decision to race the TF105B because it will be the basis of our winter testing and next year’s car.”
Behind De la Rosa and Zonta at the front of the field, Michael Schumacher (1m31.716s) was third fastest for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Jenson Button (1m32.043s) fourth for Lucky Strike BAR Honda, and David Coulthard (1m32.229s) fifth for Red Bull Racing. Rubens Barrichello (1m32.267s) completed the top six with the second Ferrari.
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director, Chassis, explained: “We have made some upgrades to the TF105B’s front suspension and it should afford the drivers some additional mechanical grip and some increased downforce. I think Ralf was happy with the balance today but Jarno less so. I hope that we will be able to put on a strong show in front of the Japanese fans but our weather forecasting indicates that the weather could play a part this weekend. Although we not expecting any typhoons this year, there is a strong chance of rain for qualifying tomorrow, although there are better odds of a dry race.”
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