Alonso thrilled and surprised by pole

Fernando Alonso has said that he was thrilled and surprised to have taken his first career pole position after topping the timesheets in qualifying for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Alonso thrilled and surprised by pole

The Spaniard said that he was simply aiming for a good position on the grid, and that it was a surprise when none of the later runners were able to beat his time.

"It's a very special day for me," said Alonso. "I feel like I am dreaming and haven't woken up! I was aiming for a good place on the grid and expected to slip down the times at the end of the session. And then it didn't happen, right up to the end of Michael's lap, it was a nice surprise!"

Mike Gascoyne, Renault's technical director, was also surprised with the result, and is optimistic of a strong performance for tomorrow's race. He said: "We wanted to be competing for places on the first three rows, and are a bit surprised to end up where we are. Above all, this performance is thanks to the drivers, they both did perfect laps. We are confident for tomorrow, because we think we are on the right strategy. We didn't compromise anything for the race."

Jarno Trulli, who will join team-mate Alonso on the front row, praised the progress made by Renault over the winter. "It's really an excellent result," said Alonso. "The team has made big strides forward after a difficult winter. It's up to us to make the most of it tomorrow now."

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