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13.-16. November 2003
Ergebnisse/Results Bilder/Gallery
  Press Release No: 5
Date: November 15, 2001
Thursday First Qualifying


Italian Paolo Montin maintained his advantage at the head of the field as he claimed provisional pole position on Thursday for this weekend's Macau Grand Prix. The TOM'S driver fought off incredibly tough opposition to outpace pre-event favourite Takuma Sato by just three tenths of a second.

Montin had been in contention for the top spot from the start of the session but started putting real pressure down with 12 minutes of qualifying remaining when he got within 0.005 seconds of then quickest man Sato. After then slipping down the order as several other drivers improved their times, Montin eventually set his best lap of 2 minutes 13.214 seconds with less than two minutes of the session remaining.

"At the beginning of the session there was a lot of traffic out there and several crashes, which eventually caused a red flag to come out," said Montin. "Later on I decided to stay on my used tyres as I think the track will improve tomorrow so will be a lot quicker. We will be changing the suspension on the car for tomorrow because I touched the barriers at one point, but I am very happy with today."

Sato was equally happy with his second placed spot after he was unable to respond to Montin's provisional pole position time at the end of the session. The British Formula 3 Champion, who will race for Jordan in F1 next year, put on two new tyres halfway through the session in a bid to improve his time.

"I'm pretty happy," he said. "Today is not really important as it is more like a test session. Tomorrow is the day that matters. It is good to be up there at the front of the field and I feel confident for tomorrow."

Frenchman Jonathan Cochet continued his front-running pace as he set the third quickest time, while Portugal's Tiago Monteiro was unable to improve on his fourth quickest lap time after crashing into the side of Anthony Davidson's car right at the end of the session.

Davidson had just put in the fifth quickest time of the session, after earlier losing his front wing in a crash with Lei Kit Meng, when he lost control of his Carlin Motorsport's car and crashed into the barriers. Carlin's misery was further compounded when Australian Peter Hackett crashed his car just moments later.

Japan's Toshihiro Kaneishi and Ryo Fukuda maintained their nation's impressive performances as they finished the session in sixth and seventh. "I wasn't really pushing today and was maybe at 70% of what I could do," explained Fukuda. "I will only be at 100% when final qualifying is under way. It was not necessary to take any risks today."

After the morning's crash free first practice session, qualifying was marred by several accidents. Yuji Ide and Raffaele Gianmaria crashed on their first lap out of the pits, while Haruki Kurosawa and Sakon Yamamoto
also hit the barriers. Briton Mark Taylor and Matteo Bobbi collided and hit the barriers at Fisherman's.

Macau Media Centre, - 15.11.01

Macau Weather
Pictures 2001


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