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Editor/Photographer : Mark Charles

 

August 28 2004

Belgian Grand Prix - Saturday Qualifying

Weather: Wet Track Temp: 20 degrees Air temp: 18 degrees

The Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium today lived up to its reputation of delivering temperamental weather as heavy rain plagued the circuit. The conditions were so treacherous that the medical helicopter could not land and the decision was taken to cancel the first practice session of the morning while the second session was postponed. Eventually the teams ran for ten minutes before the session was stopped after an accident involving the Minardi of driver Gianmaria Bruni. Qualifying was more productive with all cars running albeit with intermittent rain showers. Mark Webber drove the R5 effortlessly into 7th position and although rain fell during Christian’s qualifying stint he secured 13th place on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

Mark Webber

Position: 7th Best time: 1:58.729 Chassis: R5- 05
It’s been quite an usual day for us here at Spa as we entered qualifying having only completed twelve laps in this morning’s practice sessions. The weather has not been good at all and this has really affected the amount of running that we have been able to do. Despite this the team has done an excellent job in preparing the car and as a result the R5 felt well-balanced going into qualifying this afternoon. It was still raining when I headed out and we took the decision to be on full-wets. The track can be tricky to master in these conditions but I am pleased with where we have ended up. 7th on the grid for tomorrow’s race is good news for us and of course now we are focusing on the race and our goal to finish in the points. All the cars are very reliable at the stage on the calendar and the fight for points is not easy. However, we have a good solid package in the R5 and we are well-prepared for tomorrow so I am looking forward to getting out there and racing.

Christian Klien
Position: 13th Best time: 2:01.246 Chassis: R5- 01
I was hoping to get some more running completed this morning and I was certainly disappointed with only having the time to do six laps. The track conditions were really wet and very greasy out there and this made everyone’s job more difficult. The guys however have continued to work very hard on the car and they have done a really good job with the package. The car feels well balanced and very smooth on track so I am pleased with our progress. My first qualifying session this afternoon was good but going into the second session the rain started again when I headed out and I was probably pushing too hard as well. Although 13th on the grid is still a good points fighting place and given the complexity of this track I have no doubt that there will be attrition. I will be looking to make the most of any opportunity to make my way up the grid and I am certainly excited about the race.

Dr Mark Gillan

Head of Vehicle Performance
The rain this morning limited our running time and as it happened we went into qualifying having only completed 12 laps between the two cars. Everyone is in the same boat though and I did feel well prepared for qualifying after our good strong practice performances from yesterday. During qualifying the conditions did not improve greatly and we ran in extreme wets. Both Mark and Christian produced solid performances and I am certainly pleased with our positions for tomorrow’s grid. We tried very hard today to maintain our focus for the race tomorrow as it is forecast to be dry while also preparing the car for qualifying which was wet. I think we have achieved this but of course we will have to wait and see how we do tomorrow. This race is going to be exciting and with both of our drivers in good starting positions we will be racing for a points finish with both.

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