The novelty of competing on home soil did not play into Toyota's hands in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix after the wet conditions negated their advantage and left their drivers floundering.

Showing off their prior knowledge of the circuit in practice, Toyota, who own the Fuji Speedway, were touted as the dark horses heading into qualifying but they instead endured arguably their worst session of the season.

The session started badly for the Japanese team when Ralf Schumacher collided with Sakon Yamamoto at the end of the first knockout phase, sending the German airborne and creating a significant amount of damage.

Although he had actually made it through to the next session, Schumacher would take no further part in the day's action and would therefore be forced to start 16th. However, with drizzle falling again, team-mate Jarno Trulli fared little better in the conditions, eventually having to make do with 14th on the grid.

Only the second time this season that a Toyota has failed to make it into the top ten, Trulli was bitterly disappointed that the wet weather had unravelled all the expectation from the team.

"We pushed as hard as possible. The first session was pretty good in terms of car balance and grip. The conditions were acceptable but there was a lot of spray. We started with a completely wet track but in the middle of the second session it dried up a bit.

"I was actually more competitive in the wet conditions than at the end with a drier track. We just couldn't set a better time. It is unfortunate and certainly disappointing but we will just have to see what we can do in the race. I hope we can get a better result tomorrow."

Schumacher was also disappointed not to progress any further, but put his clash with Yamamoto's Spyker down to a misunderstanding more than anything.

"There's not a lot to say about the incident with Yamamoto at the end of Q1. I thought he had seen me. He moved to the outside and seemed to decide fairly late to turn in - I guess he hadn't seen me.

"I expected him to leave the door open and when he didn't that was it really. The car felt okay so it was disappointing not to be able to take part in Q2. It will be hard from where we are on the grid but I will do my best and hopefully make up some positions."

 

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