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Australian GP: Qualifying notes - BMW

NEWS STORY
15/03/2008

At the opening race of what is its third season the BMW Sauber F1 Team achieved its best ever qualifying result to date. In Melbourne Robert Kubica qualified in second position. Nick Heidfeld finished fifth in the expected breathtaking first battle of the year. In Q2, the part of qualifying that tells even more about the cars' performance, Kubica and Heidfeld where second and fourth. In the morning's third free practice they had been the leaders of the pack.

Robert Kubica: "P2 is a great achievement for the whole team, and that's a good start to the season! I took a lot of risks in the second run of Q3, but finally it didn't pay off. I went wide in corner twelve and ran on the artificial grass. This cost me between two and three tenths of a second and maybe pole position. We had quite a difficult day yesterday, but we were able to make a lot of progress. The F1.08 is a very quick car, but quite delicate to set-up and to drive. When I look back on what level we started testing, I have to give a big compliment to the whole team in Munich and Hinwil. Everybody worked hard analysing the problems and improving the car."

Nick Heidfeld: "I am very pleased although I missed P4 by only hundredths. The entire qualifying went smoothly, it is a superb result for the team and better than expected. After our initial tests with the F1.08 hadn't been very good we kept saying that we are working very hard and would make good progress. This is what became obvious today, and it is a great reward for everybody's effort. I believe this was the first step in the direction we want to go this year. I'm very much looking forward to the race. Without traction control the start will be especially exciting and over the race distance I expect Ferrari to be stronger than today."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): "We are very satisfied. Grid positions two and five mean the best qualifying result since we founded our team. Without his massive slide on his final lap Robert most likely would have been on pole. Positions on the first three rows of the grid were our target and this is what we have achieved, despite the Ferrari and McLaren cars being quick here in Melbourne right from the very first session. Back then we had been far away from really good lap times, but we kept working. To see the reward of the work is very pleasing."

Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "This was a good qualifying start to the new season. With grid positions two and five for Robert and Nick we are very happy, It's a pity that Robert missed pole by just a little bit. However, for him it was the best qualifying result of his F1 career. We are in a good position for the race with both drivers."

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