Saturday, September 09, 2006

Qualifying for SuperGT Series-Montegi, F1-Monza

Super GT Series Twin Ring Motegi:
The road course at Twin Ring Motegi is known as a demanding circuit, requiring endurance from the drivers and a track that is demanding on the cars. Drivers refer to the track as a 'stop and go' circuit, placing huge demands on brakes and drive trains. It is often a race where difficulties arise in the latter stages of the race. Moreover, it is a track known for its lack of places to pass and its ability for causing drivers to overwork; resulting in the possibility of contact with other cars.

In the GT500 class, the machines making their presence felt will be the powerful NSXs. The SUPER GT-spec NSXs are tested mainly at this track, and thus are very well-suited to its particular characteristics. It is, in a word, their 'home track', and nobody knows it better than the Honda teams do. In terms of wins, the NSXs have taken five consecutive victories at Twin Ring Motegi since 2001 - a true demonstration of their strength and suitability to the circuit.

Formula 1 Qualifying for Monza

The Honda Racing F1 Team’s Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello made it through to the final qualifying session in Monza today, in which they posted the 6th and 9th fastest laps respectively. They will line up on the 3rd and 5th rows of the grid for the start of tomorrow’s 53 lap Italian Grand Prix.

With both drivers feeling comfortable with the car’s long run pace this bodes well for tomorrow when the team will be targeting its third consecutive double points finish.

“I’m really pleased with how qualifying has gone today. We were a little bit apprehensive because we didn’t get to run any new tyres in free practice this morning and when I went out in qualifying one there was a red flag, so we still hadn’t run any new tyres by the end of that session. I got through Q1 and Q2 though and in Q3 the long run pace was very good, which bodes well for tomorrow. On one lap we still couldn’t get a strong lap out of the car until my last qualy run when I put it 6th on the grid. I’m happy. I got everything I could out of the car and the most important thing is that we know we are competitive for the race, so a similar story to Turkey really.”

“Qualifying went well today considering that I didn’t do any running on Friday, so a top ten finish with both cars is pretty good. Our race pace is good and I think we’re quite confident with the strategy, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

The Renault F1 Team experienced a frantic qualifying session this afternoon at the historic Monza autodrome ahead of tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

The team’s two cars will start fifth and tenth on the grid, but the numbers give only the bare bones of a dramatic afternoon in Italy.

The R26 has demonstrated a strong level of performance during the weekend, combined with strong performance from the Michelin tyres, both in terms of first lap pace and consistency on longer runs. The team therefore went into qualifying with high hopes, and made it through comfortably to the final knockout session.

However, it was during the fuel burning phase of third qualifying that problems struck for Fernando Alonso. A punctured right rear tyre caught him out under braking for the first chicane, costing him a long lap at slow speed to make it back to the pits – and inflicting severe damage on the right rear bodywork of the car. In spite of this handicap, magnified at a circuit like Monza where aero efficiency is so important, he was able to complete two timed runs – and only made it over the line by two seconds for his final flying lap. Fernando demonstrated a champion’s composure to qualify fifth, less than half a second from pole.

Fernando Alonso, 10th position
It was a day when I was lucky and unlucky. Obviously, the puncture cost me a chance to fight for the pole, with the damage it caused to the rear of the car. But equally, we had this problem at a circuit where we are competitive, and we can make up positions in the race. Things got very tight towards the end of Q3, and I had to really push to the limit on my out-lap to make sure I crossed the line in time. In the end, I did it with two seconds to spare. To qualify fifth after our problems is a strong start, and we know that our race pace is extremely competitive. Overall, once the damage has been fixed overnight, I think we can have a very strong race.

(Alonso was dropped to 10th after is was said that he impeded Massa during qualifying...)

SuperGT/HondaF1/RenaultF1 photos and news used with re-use for any purpose.

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