Panasonic Toyota Racing started its second race weekend of the season with two 90-minute free practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit today. Typically hot conditions, with air temperature from 28-33°C and track temperature from 33-48°C, greeted Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock. In first practice, both drivers used only the hard Bridgestone Potenza tyre while trying out different aerodynamic and mechanical set-ups to suit the long straight and flowing corners of Sepang. A productive session brought in useful information, despite a harmless spin from Timo midway through. More set-up work was scheduled for the second session, along with evaluating the soft compound tyre and both drivers had their first taste of the option rubber within the first 30 minutes. Dark clouds gathered and a few drops fell in the closing stages without affecting the session.
Jarno Trulli: "Today went fine and it was a very standard Friday session for us. The track was a bit slippery this morning but it cleaned up quickly and by the second session it was fine. We went through our programme and tried a few things with the set-up and the tyres to improve the car. If you look at the timing sheets we don't look as competitive as I expected before coming here but I think the car is definitely there and it is just a matter of getting the right direction on set-up. The soft tyres seem to be pretty competitive and they were faster but the hard ones were a little bit too hard."
Timo Glock: "It has been quite a tricky day for me today. The car this morning didn't feel quite right and I had some trouble with the stability, then at the beginning of second practice I was getting some oversteer and the car felt light. But we worked on some different set-ups and by the end of the day it was feeling better. We still have plenty of work to do before qualifying but we had a similar situation in Melbourne and we made a lot of progress so I am still optimistic."
Dieter Gass, Chief Engineer Race and Test: "It was a pretty normal Friday for us. We concentrated on tyres and trying to find a balance for the cars. We struggled a bit today getting a perfect balance and we still have some work to be done on both cars overnight to fine-tune the cars in order to get the best out of the package we have. In terms of the tyres, we seem to be in a different situation compared to Melbourne, much less at the limit and both tyres seem to be working reasonably well. The timing sheets are very close together so we're not worried about the final positions at the moment."