Jarno Trulli was looking good for a possible pole position - and maybe more on race day - until about an hour before he was due to go out and qualify for the United States Grand Prix - then it all went wrong for the luckless Italian.

Having carried his Friday form into Saturday by topping one of the two free practice sessions and only losing out to Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello in the other, Trulli spun off at the end of the short warm-up run and severely damaged his Renault against the unforgiving Indianapolis barriers. Having not put a wheel wrong to that point, the Italian then faced an anxious wait to see if the crew could repair his preferred car in time for him to take up his allocated qualifying slot.

Fortunately for Trulli, he was scheduled to run last of all in the qualifying hour, courtesy of his Friday performance, and this allowed the team just enough time to rebuild the front of the R23. However, with the set-up not quite as it had been prior to the accident, and with his mind perhaps mulling over the error, there was never a chance of the Italian repeating his earlier showing.

"Nothing felt quite right," he confirmed, "I made small mistakes all the way round the lap, and perhaps I had some trouble adapting to changing track conditions. It is disappointing to start from so far back, after we had already shown that our package is very competitive."

Fuelled by frustration, Trulli has already pledged to chase an unlikely victory on Sunday, even though that would mean getting involved with the title fight that he could have been racing ahead of.

"I want to thank all the mechanics, who did a fantastic job to get the car ready after my accident in the warm-up," he explained, "We have chosen a good strategy and I am intending to drive an attacking race tomorrow."

Renault's engineering director, Pat Symonds, admitted that it could all have been so much better for the Italian.

"Jarno appears to have suffered from his accident during the warm-up, and tenth position is not representative of his pace all weekend," he said, before admitting that team-mate Fernando Alonso's performance had buoyed the team.

"Fernando and his crew have had to work hard to get the car balanced this weekend and, while it is still not perfect, they have made considerable progress, resulting in a competitive sixth place on the grid," he continued, "We are pleased with the tyre choice we have made, as well as our strategy, and we expect to have a competitive, exciting race tomorrow."

 

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