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12 June 2010

Pushing on in Canadian GP qualifying

A superb qualifying session for Lotus Racing in Montréal saw the team pushing ever closer to the midfield, with Heikki Kovalainen finishing just two tenths off Kobayashi’s Sauber in 19th place, and Jarno Trulli just behind the Finn in 20th. The Anglo-Asian squad continued their impressive progression at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and will now be looking forward to a strong race on Sunday, aiming to have both cars finish the Canadian Grand Prix in what promises to be a very exciting race.

Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus Cosworth T127-01) - FP3: 16 laps, 20th, 1.19.447 / Qualifying: 19th, 1.18.237, 12 laps “I’ve felt like I've done a few good qualifying laps this year, but this one was really good. I’ve had a decent balance all weekend, and yesterday I didn’t have any problems, so I could find a good setup and had the confidence to push. We just need to find a little bit more to really take the fight to the guys in front, but tomorrow I think we can race them, I think we can have a go. I thought I had Kamui for a while, but he just got in front at the end, but you always find a little bit more when you think you can get the guy ahead and that shows how far we’ve come. Today shows we’re making progress all the time – we were only two tenths away from Sauber today which is just great for the whole team.”

Jarno Trulli (Lotus Cosworth T127-03) - FP3: 15 laps, 19th, 1.19.013 / Qualifying: 20th, 1.18.698, 11 laps “It’s been tricky this weekend as I haven’t managed to complete that many laps and haven’t been able to find a setup I’m really comfortable with. We went with the primes to begin with today, and I could see that I was close to the guys in front, so I took the gamble and went for the options at the end, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. The aim tomorrow is to finish the race, and I’m optimistic we can do that, so let’s see what I can do.”

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “It’s been a very strong qualifying for the team today. The big question was tyre choice; both drivers did their first run on the harder tyre, and Heikki decided to stay with that, while Jarno switched to the option. I think Heikki managed to get a lot out of it, and it’s a sign of how far we’ve come that we came very close to out-qualifying one of the Saubers - it would have been another great step forward for us to beat one of the established teams in a straight fight, and we’re nearly there.

“Jarno didn’t quite get the lap time out of the option tyre on his last run, and I think we as a team have to take responsibility for that – his lack of running yesterday really hurt his chances, especially on the options, so we have to say sorry to him for that. But overall it was a great performance from the whole team. Looking at tomorrow, this is always one of the unpredictable races, so you never know, but our aim will be to get the two cars to the finish”

Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “It’s funny – a really good qualifying session for us, but really this weekend is all about getting cars across the finish line on Sunday. Having said that, today was another big step forward for us as we were just 2.34 seconds off the outright pace in Q1 and to be so close to a Sauber in qualifying is absolutely great, but also a bit frustrating as it would have been even better to beat an established team, and that shows just how far we’ve come in such a short time. Heikki did a fantastic job to push Kamui so hard, and Jarno also performed extremely well to stay ahead of the other new teams, particularly bearing in mind how little running he had yesterday. Tomorrow’s all about seeing the chequered flag, and that’s what we’re really focussing on, but I also think we can take the fight to the guys ahead, and I can’t wait to see how it pans out – bring it on!”