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Europe Saturday notes - Minardi

NEWS STORY
28/05/2005

The opening day of the European Grand Prix weekend at the Nurburgring did not run as smoothly as Minardi F1 Team personnel might have hoped, but a significant overnight effort by technicians and mechanics most definitely put the situation back on track today. Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher both enjoyed trouble-free practice sessions on Saturday, before consolidating the progress made with solid performances in the afternoon qualifying session. Both drivers were at something of a disadvantage in qualifying, as their cars were carrying heavy fuel loads, but nonetheless, a smooth lap from Friesacher saw him 'splitting' the two Jordan entries on the timing screens, while Albers completed his run less than three-tenths of a second off the pace of his team mate.

Patrick Friesacher: Generally, I was quite happy with my lap. We were struggling a little bit this morning with one or two small problems on the car, but we made some changes, which enabled me to find a good balance. I think we're in a good position for tomorrow's race.

Christijan Albers: The fuel load we were carrying this afternoon meant the car had a little bit more understeer than I would have liked for the qualifying run. As a result, I ran wide in one spot and lost a little bit of time there. Even so, it was not a bad run, and I think we have a good strategy for tomorrow. We should have a good pace in the race.

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal, Minardi Cosworth: Once again, we feel encouraged by today's times, especially considering the fuel loads in both cars for tomorrow's race. Indeed, all weekend, we have been exchanging lap times with our nearest rival, Jordan, and are pleasingly close to Sauber and Red Bull Racing. If we are able to split the Jordans at a circuit we really didn't expect would suit our new car, and bearing in mind there is still a huge amount of development potential in the PS05, it bodes very well for the upcoming North American races, as well for the rest of the season.

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