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Panasonic Toyota Racing today began its preparations for the Bahrain Grand Prix with two practice sessions under sunny skies at the Sakhir International Circuit. Overnight showers led to a green track for the morning session so grip was at a premium on this track in the middle of the Bahrain desert. Toyota's race drivers Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher still had a successful day's work, using the three hours available to put in well over 100 laps between them. They ended the day with the 10th and 18th fastest times respectively. The team will now spend the evening analysing the data collected as it prepares for tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's race.
Jarno Trulli: "The fact that we tested here before the season obviously means that all the teams have a lot of recent experience of this circuit. Still, this was a standard Friday for us testing tyres and set-up although the conditions have been difficult. The track is as dusty as usual and when the wind changes direction it can have a major effect on the car's balance. So we have to make adjustments to cope with that and we still need to work a bit on the set-up tonight. Of late this track hasn't been particularly kind to us but now we must push to make the top ten tomorrow and aim for the points again."
Ralf Schumacher: "Overall it was a reasonable day for us. We made it through a lot of work without any major problems so I am fairly happy with that. Grip was a struggle, though. The track was slippery in the beginning so that made it a bit difficult. It became better during the day as more rubber was put down and the dust was cleaned off. This wasn't a good race for us last year but we come into this year's grand prix with points from the last two races. Now we must look to build on that here over the weekend."
Dieter Gass – Chief Engineer Race and Test: "First of all, a good job from David Coulthard for not running over our brakes guy in the pit lane! Apart from that it's been a very productive Friday for us and we collected a lot of data on both cars. We had a small mechanical issue on Ralf's car but we were able to fix that during the session so that we could run through to the end. While Jarno seems to be quite happy with the car, Ralf struggled a bit to come up to speed so we will have to look into how we can improve his situation tonight. Having tested here recently there were not many surprises and the tyre comparison was a confirmation of what we saw before the season. We definitely seem to be looking more competitive here than we were in the test so we will look for a strong performance on Saturday and Sunday."
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