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Nick goes quickest to take Euro pole

NEWS STORY
28/05/2005

Ahead of the (sole) qualifying session for the 2005 European Grand Prix, the air temperature is 30 degrees C, while the track temperature is 47 degrees.

It's worth noting that the temperatures are the highest we've witnessed since Bahrain.

Although McLaren and, to a slightly lesser extent, Renault dominated this morning's free practice sessions, it's going to be interesting to see what happens in the next hour.

Because the cars will be running with their race fuel load, it's not worth placing too much stock on this morning's times, for in this session its all going to be about fuel strategy.

Renault believes that the new qualifying format will work against it, while Jean Todt is confident that the 'revised' format will suit Ferrari.

First out today is Takuma Sato, who will be followed by BAR teammate Jenson Button. Then we'll see Monaco retiree Narain Karthikeyan, who will be followed by David Coulthard and Patrick Friesacher. Last out will be Monaco victor, Kimi Raikkonen.

When the lights go green, Sato leaves his garage, game on.

At the first split the Japanese star posts 30.433, followed by a 1:08.700, as he wide at Turn 11. At the line the BAR star posts 1:32.926, that 'off' costing him dear.

Teammate Jenson button is next out, what can he do? At the first split the Englishman posts 30.336, he's up on Sato, but it's marginal. At the second split it's 1:08.728, he's down on Sato, who had gone off! At the line it's 1:32.594, as he grabs back some time and thereby takes provisional pole.

Karthikeyan is on track in the Jordan, the Silverstone going through a really poor patch. At the first split it's 31.524, followed by a 1:11.788 at the second, he's 3s off the pace already. At the line the Indian posts 1:36.192, 3.5s off the pace.

David Coulthard is next in the Red Bull, the Scot being innocent victim in Monaco. At the first split the veteran racer posts 30.596, he's 0.260s down. At the second split the former McLaren driver posts 1:09.050, he's still only 0.3s off the pace. At the line it's 1:32.553, provisional pole, which puts the BAR times in perspective.

At the first split Friesacher posts 31.337, as ever he's working away at the wheel of the Minardi. At the second split it's 1:11.591, he's 2.5s off the pace but ahead of Karthikeyan. At the line the Austrian posts 1:35.954, which puts him fourth.

Next out is Tonio Liuzzi, who is making his last appearance before Christian Klien takes over the Red Bull in Montreal. The Italian really needs a good result this weekend.

At the first split the reigning F3000 champion posts 30.319, he's up on his teammate by 0.2s. At the second split it's 1:08.597, as he maintains his pace. He's a little too enthusiastic at the chicane and as a result it's 1:32.642 at the line, which puts him third.

Christijan albers in on track in the second Minardi. At the first split it's 31.334, he's up on his teammate. At the second split it's 1:11.741, he's just 2.6s off the pace. At the line the Dutch driver posts 1:36.239 as he loses a whole heap of time.

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