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Belgian GP: Qualifying notes - Force India

NEWS STORY
29/08/2009

Giancarlo Fisichella has secured a spectacular first pole for the Force India Formula One Team, marking the first time that an Indian team has been on the front row of the starting grid for a Grand Prix. The 36-year-old Italian will start from pole for the fourth time in his career after an unbelievable qualifying session.

Giancarlo led the field throughout the hour, setting the fastest time in Q1 to ease into Q2. The fourth best time in Q2 then followed before a nail biting Q3 that saw him trade fastest times with the Toyota of Jarno Trulli. His best lap of the session, a 1min 46.308, which came just seconds from the end of the hour, could not be bettered and he held on for his first pole since Malaysia 2006.

Adrian Sutil had also looked strong throughout the day and narrowly missed out on a Q3 slot for the second time this year by just one tenth of a second. The German will start the race from 11th position.

Adrian Sutil: This is an unbelievable day for the team. Congratulations to Giancarlo: it was an amazing result for him and such a good boost for the team. We've worked hard so the guys really deserve it. For me, it was quite a good session but I'm still a little bit disappointed as I couldn't use the soft tyre set effectively. The hard set was much better on my car - we don't know why but we will look into it for sure. Normally we should have been Q3 - as Giancarlo showed - but from 11th I still think points are possible. We are quite good on the long run pace, the car feels good and it was from this point of view I am quite happy.

Giancarlo Fisichella: This is one of my favourite circuits, I did well in the past and I was sure we would be competitive again this year. I didn't expect to be on pole though! It feels just great, like a dream. I am so happy for myself, for the team, for the mechanics, the engineers, who have done a fantastic job. They did a great step forward for Valencia for the last race considering our budget and our resources. This morning we had a small accident when I hit a rabbit, but my engineer said it would be lucky and it was ! What a result. I am now not only looking for points, but for more. We've got this far we need to finish the job!

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer: Simply an incredible result today and full credit to Giancarlo on a series of fantastic laps. We started today a little unsure of our performance, and knew we had to work on the understeer that was in the car yesterday. The engineers worked on it, tried a few things in FP3 and found the right direction. From there both drivers were much happier. For Adrian the two tyres seemed closer in performance in qualifying, and somehow he just missed out on Q3, Giancarlo concentrated on the soft tyre in Q2 and I think the track improvement came in that direction. I want to say thanks to the tunnel, the factory and to the team and hope that tomorrow we convert this qualifying result to solid points.

Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and managing director: What an unbelievable result we have had here. I am so proud of Giancarlo, the team in the garage and the factory and also for the entire Indian nation. There is nothing more to say: we've done both ourselves and the country proud.

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