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Lotus satisfied with race pace

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Melbourne 2011Lotus said it was very satisfied with its race pace in Melbourne, even though it did not achieve its aim of catching the more established midfield teams in the season opener.

The team spent the Australian Grand Prix weekend back in the position it had occupied through 2010 - beating Virgin and Hispania, but not quick enough to challenge those ahead.

But Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne said the signs from Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen's race performance were very encouraging. Trulli finished 15th while Kovalainen retired with a water leak.

"After a pretty tough weekend I am very pleased with both Jarno and Heikki's race performances," said Gascoyne.

"We had an issue with a water leak on the radiator on Heikki's car and soon after his pitstop that unfortunately brought an end to his race. He had been very strong on the options so that was a shame, but he had looked good until that point which is obviously encouraging.

"Jarno struggled early on with the prime tyres so we swapped him onto the options and he quickly found his pace.

"Our speed in the race was much more representative of the pace we had shown in testing so for Malaysia the target is to make sure we achieve that level throughout the whole weekend."

Kovalainen felt his pace was comparable with Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso and Sergio Perez's Sauber before his problem.

"Until the retirement I was very pleased with my own performance," said the Finn.

"I had a good start and was then staying with Alguersuari and Perez until the water leak brought my race to an end.

"I think this has been a bit of a tricky weekend for us, perhaps more difficult than we had anticipated, but we have some time now to analyse why the pace wasn't quite where we had expected it to be and to work on the reliability before we get to Malaysia."

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