The Panasonic Toyota Racing team is generally in quite 'good shape' for its 'home' event at the Nurburgring, that's the verdict of chief race and test engineer, Dieter Gass following practice on Friday.

Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli both showed good pace in the two practice sessions today and the former was looking especially competitive, with the seventh best time in FP1 and the fifth best time in FP2.

Trulli was going reasonably well too in the sister TF107 and although he was only eleventh in the first session, he improved and set the sixth best time in the second stint, less than a tenth off his team-mate.

"It was a very productive Friday for us," said Gass. "We changed our programme slightly in the morning because we had some rain forecast for during the afternoon session. The rain did arrive but it stopped a little bit earlier than predicted, which gave us the possibility to do some additional work on the dry set-up and this will help our preparations for Saturday and Sunday.

"Initially, after the rain, the track took a bit of time to come back to the best conditions but towards the end of the session it was fine.

"We had two completely trouble-free sessions which was good and allowed us to do a lot of work on the tyres and the set-up of the car. We gathered a lot of data on both the medium and soft tyres and we are in a good position to decide our strategy. Generally, we seem to be in quite good shape and we hope to carry that through the rest of the weekend."

Ralf meanwhile was feeling pretty positive and is already hopeful that he can qualify in the top ten and score points, something he has only managed twice to date this season.

"We had a good two sessions today. It's good to be back driving in front of my home fans again and I am pretty happy with the work we did, and especially with our lap times," said the German. "In the last few races we have changed a few things with our set-up and that has helped.

"My pace was quite competitive in France and Silverstone, even if the results were not there, and that seems to apply to this circuit as well. We worked on the car set-up, as well as understanding the tyres on this track, and everything went well. The team has a lot of information now, more than we expected because the rain stopped earlier than predicted, which gave us the chance to do a few more laps than usual.

"We are pushing very hard and my target for tomorrow is to get into Q3 again, which will give us the opportunity to fight for points. We will work on the car before qualifying and I am feeling optimistic."

Trulli has similar ambitions: "It was a reasonable session for me. You can see from our lap times that I was really competitive today. It's a shame that in the end I had traffic on my quickest lap in P2, so I lost a bit of time - otherwise I could have been even faster and further up the results. But nevertheless it is important that we are going in the right direction and making progress.

"As always, we are fighting hard but every race is a different story so we will have to see what happens tomorrow in qualifying. I am aiming to qualify once again in the top 10, even though the competition is very tough. If we can improve the car a little bit tomorrow before qualifying, we can have a good weekend."

 

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