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Australian GP: Qualifying notes - Virgin

NEWS STORY
26/03/2011

Another cold and cloudy day in Melbourne began with the final 60-minute Free Practice Session. After waiting for the track conditions to improve, Timo Glock was one of the first to break the silence in Albert Park and go out on track, with Jerome following him out of the garage shortly after. Both drivers were able to keep improving their lap times during the session and close the gap to the other teams. Timo completed 15 laps with Jerome notching up 18 laps before the session ended just as it started to rain again.

This afternoon, the team faced the tough test of the opening qualifying session of the new season - the first real barometer of competitive performance - in similarly cool conditions. The air temperature was a cool 16?C with the track temperature peaking at just 18?C. Both drivers set a time inside the new for 2011 107% rule and are looking forward to the season-opening Grand Prix tomorrow.

Timo Glock: "The first weekend of the new season has been a tough test for us and today we got the chance to see where we stand and how we need to move forward. I had a new engineer and a new performance engineer over the winter and together with my car crew they have done a fantastic job in testing and this weekend. At the end of the day though, fighting for a time within 107% of the leaders is not what we're here for and we can see now where we are and what we need to do to progress. We are a really strong team and now we have to bring the car up to where we need it to be. As for tomorrow, the opening race of the season, we will be focusing on staying reliable and bringing both cars to the finish as the reward for everyone's hard work."

Jerome D'Ambrosio: "I'm very happy with the progress made this weekend and this has ensured we can look forward to the race tomorrow. On a personal level this was my first qualifying session and I was able to see exactly what was required and where I have to improve. I will use all the information - good and bad - to see what I need to work on so I can keep improving. But for now I am happy that things went our way today and I hope I can have a positive experience in my first Formula One race tomorrow."

John Booth, Team Principal: "It's fair to say that there was some degree of nail biting within the team ahead of this afternoon's qualifying session. That's not the position we want to be in and fighting to stay within the 107% time is not our target - it should be a given. Just like last year we expected the first race to be a tough challenge, coming off the back of a winter of regulation changes. Qualifying was an affirmation of what we already know - that we have a lot of hard work ahead to bring the car up to where it needs to be. Having said that, Timo drove the wheels off the car to get the best possible result today and Jerome is doing an admirable job in his debut weekend, so all credit to the drivers and the team for a very respectable opening weekend operationally as it's a huge step forward from where we were 12 months ago."

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