With podium finishes in each of the first two grands prix of the 2009 Formula One season, Toyota has racked up its best opening account in the eight years it has been involved in the top flight - but one thing still eludes it.

Victory has been a much-vaunted omission from the Cologne-based team's resume, but it has seldom been more confident of finally shaking the monkey from its back than heading to this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. The circumstances surrounding Jarno Trulli's third place in Melbourne and Timo Glock's similar finish at Sepang may have been contentious, but both finishes were well deserved given the TF109's pace out of the box this season.

While the team may yet find its performance reined in by decisions pending from the World Motor Sport Council in Paris tomorrow [Tuesday], Trulli and Glock will be looking to build on the 16.5-point start to the year with an eleventh podium - and possible victory - in round three, despite China featuring a lot earlier than usual on the schedule.

"I am really optimistic about the Chinese Grand Prix because we have started the season very strongly," Trulli commented, "It shows how much progress we have made since last season that, in Malaysia, I was a little disappointed with fourth because I wanted to finish on the podium and fight for the win. Last year in Malaysia, I finished fourth and that was more than we expected!

"We are second in the constructors' championship, so it's clear we are one of the top teams, and both Timo and I have consistently been fighting at the front, which is great."

Trulli admits, however, that he will have to overcome his own personal record at Shanghai International if he is to add to his tally this weekend, having been taken out early on last season.

"The goal for me in China is to fight for the podium again - and I think we have a really good chance," he insisted, "China is one of those circuits where I have never had much luck, and it was the same last year when I was hit from behind at the first corner, so I'm determined to have a better weekend this time."

Glock, meanwhile, finished seventh in China just a matter of months ago as he continued his strong finish to the season by scoring another couple of points. Like Trulli, he points to two scoring finishes in the opening events of his second season with the team as good reason to view China with optimism.

"Malaysia was a crazy race, but it was a great result for the team and it gives us a lot of confidence for the Chinese Grand Prix," he claimed, "We were really competitive in all conditions, which is a good sign because it confirms we were right to be optimistic before the season started.

"We have had both cars finish in the top four in both races so far this season, so we are definitely aiming to challenge for the podium again. Of course, it's pretty close, so we will have to do another good weekend - although it seems strange to be going to China in April..."

After its success in Malaysia, the team briefly returned home to its technical centre in Cologne, before making the trip back out east to China, although the cars and equipment went directly from Sepang to Shanghai as it tries to repeat the podium form last seen with Ralf Schumacher in 2005.


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