by Russell Atkins

Jarno Trulli declared himself far happier after producing arguably the performance of qualifying to drag his recalcitrant Toyota into the top ten on the grid for the Canadian Grand Prix, when the previous day he had not even been sure if he would be able to take part.

The Italian is famed for his one-off qualifying laps, but this effort was something special even by his own invariably lofty standards. A persistent front upright suspension failure that twice tore his right front wheel off over the kerb in turn eight saw him lose valuable track time throughout practice, and he went into qualifying driving what was effectively a completely untried and untested machine. More impressively still, he accomplished the tenth-best time without even touching that kerb, normally a pre-requisite for a fast lap around the challenging Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

"That was about as fast as I could have gone today," he acknowledged afterwards. "I'm very happy, even if we would have liked to be further forward. We've clearly been hampered by all the problems we had yesterday and the limited amount of running we had during practice. This morning the track was in a very bad condition, plus we had to change so many things on the set-up to try to deal with the problem that I didn't even know the car I was running with.

"We lost a bit of time avoiding the kerb at turn eight, but given everything that has happened we got away with a good result today. I was really pleased with my lap to get through Q2. The team did a very good job and I'm more than satisfied, but the race is a big question mark. Anything could happen. This is an interesting circuit and a race where people can drop out so you have to hang on and make the finish."

After admitting he had considered not racing on Sunday on safety grounds - especially after Toyota suffered a similar persistent problem, this time with tyres, at the 2005 US Grand Prix and ultimately all of the Michelin runners pulled out before the start of the race - the former grand prix winner said he was now confident of making the finish, provided he can steer clear of the offending kerb.

"The first time we hit the kerb we stopped because it could just have been a normal failure," he explained. "The problem was we were then sent out again and for a second consecutive time it failed at the same place and for the same reason. When that happens you lose a little bit of confidence,

"The team has investigated it overnight and come up with some answers, though the picture is still not fully clear and until you know what's happening you don't want to risk sending two cars out that may well fail.

"Every time I go through that corner now I know if I touch the kerb the suspension might fail. We have to keep away from it, which will make the race quite difficult. We know we will lose some time by doing that but it's what we have to do."

 

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