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Raikkonen takes provisional pole at Imola

NEWS STORY
23/04/2005

With just three minutes to go before the start of today's qualifying session, the air temperature is 19 degrees C, while the track temperature is 32 degrees.

First out will be F1 race 'virgin' Tonio Liuzzi, who will be followed by Alexander Wurz, Narain Karthikeyan, Giancarlo Fisichella and Michael Schumacher.

At precisely 13:00, Tonio Liuzzi heads down the pitlane, the session is underway.

He crosses the line to begin his first ever F1 qualifying session. At the first split it's 23.557, followed by a 50.771 at the second, as he uses every inch of the Imola track. He rides the kerbs, crossing the line at 1:21.804.

Wurz completes the first sector in 23.249, the McLaren looking as smooth as silk. At the second split it's 50.121, he's 0.6s up on Liuzzi. At the line the Austrian posts 1:20.632 to take provisional pole, but slower than his time this morning.

Karthikeyan posts 24.102 at the first split, he's already almost a second down. At the second split it's 51.614, the Indian youngster giving 100%. At the line the Jordan star posts 1:23.123, 2.491s down on Wurz.

Melbourne winner Giancarlo Fisichella is next out, the Italian completing the first sector in 23.322. At the second split it's 50.203, he's still down on the McLaren driver. He's way out of shape in the second of the Rivazza corners, losing precious time. He crosses the line at 1:21.708 to go second.

At the first split Michael Schumacher posts 23.099, he's 0.150s up on Wurz. The German is pushing hard, completing the second sector in 49.808, he's now 0.312s to the good. At the line it's 1:20.260, provisional pole for the world Champion.

At the first break, it's Schumacher ahead of Wurz, Fisichella, Liuzzi and Karthikeyan.

Next out will be Nick Heidfeld, who will be followed by Takuma Sato, however the BAR mechanics are swarming over the Japanese driver's car, which apparently has a gearbox problem.

Heidfeld begins his lap, no sign of the back pains, which according to some threatened to stop him competing here this weekend. At the first split it's 23.333, he's 0.134s down on Schumacher. At the second split the WilliamsF1 star posts 50.068, he's now 0.260s down on the Ferrari driver. At the line the German posts 1:20.807 to take third.

Sato is on track, the gearbox problem fixed. At the first split he posts 23.233, he's 0.134s down on Schumacher. At the second split it's 50.062, followed by a 1:20.851 at the line, he goes fourth.

Teammate Jenson button is next out, the Englishman setting a blistering pace on his out lap. At the first split it's 23.179, he's down on Schumacher, but it's marginal. At the second split it's 49.955, he's now 0.147s down on the German. At the line it's 1:20.464, he goes second by 0.204.

At the first split, Christijan albers posts 24.813, he's 1.7s down on provisional pole. At the second split it's 53.584, he's now 3.7s off the pace. At the line it's 1:25.921, to go ninth.

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