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Australia Saturday notes: BMW

NEWS STORY
01/04/2006

After Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve set the best times in the third practice session this morning, they finished qualifying for the Australian GP in eighth and ninth positions respectively. However, Jacques will lose 10 grid positions following an engine change prior to qualifying.

Nick Heidfeld: I am disappointed. After our very strong showing this morning as well as in the first two parts of qualifying, a significantly better result was possible today. But in the end I didn't have a fresh set of tyres available so eighth was the best I could expect.

Jacques Villeneuve: Since I will lose 10 positions because of needing a new engine, we concentrated wholly on race strategy in the third part of qualifying, running a representative fuel load. I just did some laps to make sure I got a time and with Trulli not running I finished ninth, which means I will start from 19th position. The race pace that we have is very good so I am still optimistic for tomorrow as Felipe Massa proved in Malaysia what it is possible to do even when you have to start towards the back of the grid.

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): For the first time both cars are in the top 10. As we disclosed yesterday, we changed the engine on Jacques's car prior to qualifying. As he will lose 10 grid positions, he only did one outing in the final part of the session to achieve a lap time. With the right strategy he should still have a realistic chance to be competitive in the race. Nick, meanwhile, is in a strong position.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director Chassis): Both cars in the top 10 in qualifying: this is very positive even though Jacques will be penalised due to the engine change prior to the session. The handling balance of the F1.06 is good, so we should nevertheless be able to challenge in the race.

To check out our Melbourne qualifying gallery, click here

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