Not since the Japanese Grand Prix in 2005 - or 55 races ago - has a Toyota achieved a front row qualifying spot in Formula 1, but Jarno Trulli changed all that at Interlagos with an inspired run in Q3 to split the two Ferraris at the head of the pack.

The Italian veteran has enjoyed arguably the finest campaign of his successful twelve-year career in the top flight in 2008, racking up 30 points and only four times failing to make it through to the final top ten shoot-out in qualifying.

Whilst Trulli has on three occasions put his TF108 on the second row of the grid, though, his S?o Paolo effort - just under four tenths away from pole - marked his highest starting slot since mid-2005, when he achieved back-to-back front row positions for the big-budget Japanese concern at Indianapolis and Magny-Cours.

Having lapped tenth-quickest in final free practice - albeit only just over three tenths shy of the top spot, such is the closeness of the field in Brazil this weekend - the 34-year-old from Pescara comfortably made it through both Q1 and Q2 before not once but twice producing inch-perfect laps to divide the scarlet challenge.

Not only has that put him in the perfect position from which to end his season in style - around a circuit where he has previously taken the chequered flag no higher than fourth - but it also came somewhat against the odds, as he explained.

"Before coming here I knew this was one of those difficult, technical tracks where I could be strong and my car could be very competitive," related the delighted former Monaco Grand Prix winner. "I have been preparing and waiting for this grand prix and now here I am.

"We have been competitive all weekend and I played my cards during qualifying, saving my tyres and getting ready for Q3. In the end I put in a really good lap. It's ironic, because for the first time in my career I thought I might not make it on Friday because I was feeling really ill with 'flu.

"After this result I have to thank the whole team for the job - the mechanics, the engineers and also the doctor! I am really happy for everyone, and this shows the progress we have made this season. Now we hope to finish on a high."

Team-mate Timo Glock was not quite as satisfied at the close of the session, having lapped a competitive fifth-quickest in both Q1 and Q2 - notwithstanding a brief spin on the exit of turn one in the former - only to wind up almost a second-and-a-half adrift of Trulli when it really mattered, albeit with more fuel on-board.

"We worked hard today to improve the set-up after the problems we had yesterday," the young German stated. "In the end we found a decent balance this afternoon. During Q2 I found a good rhythm and the car felt quick.

"I made it under 1m12secs on my penultimate run, but at the end of the session we went out again on a set of options. In hindsight we could have saved those tyres for Q3, which might have helped. The top ten is not bad, but we could have achieved slightly more."

"Clearly we are delighted by the outcome of qualifying," summarised the Cologne-based outfit's senior general chassis manager Pascal Vasselon. "For Jarno things went exactly as expected.

"We had several indications throughout the weekend that he was very comfortable and quick here; then he did a very strong performance, so congratulations to him. He was caught out by a gust of wind in the second outing in Q2, but the first outing was good enough.

"For Timo, things went even better than expected. He was struggling more with the balance of the car yesterday, but today he was able to put everything together when it mattered. The two cars are obviously on different strategies, which considering the unstable weather predicted for tomorrow should put the team in a strong position.

"The tyre situation is challenging as this circuit is severe for tyres, but we feel that we will be able to handle both compounds well. Now we are looking forward very much to an exciting race to finish the season."