The Panasonic Toyota Racing team began its preparations for the European Grand Prix with a strong Friday of practice under the German sun as Ricardo Zonta, Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli ended the two sessions in 2nd, 10th and 11th places respectively. With thousands of fans and team members expected over the course of the weekend, Toyota will have extra support here and the whole team will do everything to keep up its impressive start to the season.
Ralf Schumacher had a trouble-free Friday of groundwork for his and Toyota's home race on Sunday, putting in 28 laps of the track and finishing the day in 10th position.
Ralf Schumacher: "The two sessions went fine for me and we had no technical problems. We still have a lot to do on the set-up because I am not happy with that yet. The tyre choice looks relatively straightforward here and we will confirm that tonight. Now we just have to put in a bit of work overnight on the set-up. It's great that we have some of the people who work in the factory here this weekend. So let's hope we can bring home a decent result on Sunday."
Still the third placed driver in the world championship, Jarno Trulli was happy with his start to the European Grand Prix weekend, finishing in 11th place after the two sessions.
Jarno Trulli: "We had a positive day because we did a lot of laps and learned a lot of things. On the other hand we didn't really show the full potential of the car because I spent much of the afternoon either stuck in traffic or finding yellow flags. So our lap time is not very representative and we remain confident for tomorrow when we will understand better where we are. This is one of our home races so we'll hope for another good result."
Ricardo Zonta had another busy Friday, putting in a total of 54 laps on a rapidly improving track. He put in a storming lap at the end of the second session to set the second fastest time and is confident for the rest of the weekend.
Ricardo Zonta: "I had a really good feeling in the car today and I hit traffic on my last lap so I could have gone even quicker. The track was very slippery in the first session so we put in work to improve the grip level and to balance the car. That worked pretty well, and the grip improved in the afternoon as the track rubbered in. I think we are looking quite competitive."
Panasonic Toyota Racing has come to the Nürburgring with a range of improvements to the aerodynamics and engine periphery. Now it will look to capitalise on its strong start over the course of the weekend.
Mike Gascoyne – Technical Director Chassis: "It was a productive first day. We had no mechanical worries on the cars and both race drivers completed their programmes. Ricardo also completed his full programme doing tyre evaluation in the morning and long runs in the afternoon, and we gained some good data for the tyre choice. There were a lot of yellow flags which made it difficult to get a clear run on new tyres. But overall the cars look competitive so we'll be looking for podium finishes on Sunday."