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Against all odds, Trulli takes pole

NEWS STORY
18/06/2005

In all honesty we could well be in for one of the oddest qualifying sessions of all time.

Following the problems that Ralf Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta encountered on Friday, Michelin wishes to bring in a batch of new tyres from France.

This would mean that the Michelin runners would not use the same tyres in today's qualifying session that they use in tomorrow's race - they would therefore be illegal, indeed according to the FIA's Charlie Whiting, this means the teams "would be breaking four rules".

Therefore this means that there would be little point in taking part in today's qualifying session. Should that happen, one shudders to think what damage this would do to F1 in North America.

Although the FIA may allow the Michelin teams to use 'new' tyres, it remains to be seen how Ferrari and the other Bridgestone teams will react. For the most part Bridgestone has had its nose rubbed in the mud by Michelin this year because Michelin have been pushing the envelope too far, so will there be any sympathy? Probably not.

One observer could see this coming; in first practice cars were running so low they were kicking out brown smoke as they came through the final corner and the floor grounded. He said that the tyre sidewalls were clearly too soft and were just compounding under pressure.

Anyway… ahead of the 'golden hour', the air temperature is 23 degrees C, while the track temperature has risen to 40 degrees.

First out will be Ricardo Zonta, who will be followed by Montoya, Karthikeyan, Fisichella and Alonso.

At 13:00 precisely, Zonta heads off down the pitlane, the session is underway.

At the first split the Brazilian posts 22.167, followed by a 52.090 at the second. For obvious reasons it's a cautious lap, however, he still manages to post a 1:11.754. Very impressive.

At the first split, Juan Pablo Montoya posts 22.218, he's down on the Brazilian but it's marginal. At the second split it's 51.825, he's now 0.264s up on the Toyota driver. At the line it's 1:11.681, to take provisional pole, but only just.

Next out is Narain Karthikeyan in the Jordan. At the first split the Indian posts 22.790, he's already 0.5s down on Montoya. At the second split it's 53.460, the Jordan slipping and sliding all over the place. At the line it's 1:13.776, he's 2.095s off the pace.

At the first split, Fisichella posts 22.083, he's 0.135s up on Montoya. Since Melbourne, the Italian has had a torrid season, however things are improving here, at the second split he's still 0.253s to the good. At the line it's 1:11.290, provisional pole for the Renault driver.

Next out is Renault teammate, and world Championship leader, Fernando Alonso. At the first split the Spaniard posts 22.183, he's exactly 0.100s down on his teammate. At the second split it's 51.702, as he continues to lose ground to the Italian. At the line it's 1:11.380, which puts him second, and gives Renault provisional 1-2.

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