Davidson Facing 'Toughest Challenge'

Briton Anthony Davidson says he is facing the toughest challenge of his career after being drafted to replace Takuma Sato at the Malaysian Grand Prix

Sato withdrew on medical advice following a viral infection.

Sunday will be Davidson's first race since 2002 when he replaced Malaysian Alex Yoong at Minardi for two races without scoring any points. The 25-year-old has been BAR's reserve driver since 2001.

Davidson, who was already packing his bags to return to Europe to resume testing in France next week, was 15th quickest in the first qualifying session.

"It's been a tough but exciting day for me," admitted Davidson.

"When I had the final confirmation that I would be driving this morning, I was packing my bags ready to go home.  This is probably the toughest race challenge I've ever been faced with, and although I know the car very well, I'm still learning the track because I had limited running on the Friday here last year. 

"It's always tough being the first car out and I wanted to take it a bit steady and keep the car on track.  Overall I'm pleased with my performance under the circumstances and I'm confident that there's more to come in tomorrow's final qualifying run."

Compatriot and teammate Jenson Button, who had the first podium of his Formula One career in Malaysia last year when he finished third, was ninth.

"The car felt good but I haven't had any running on new tyres today, which meant it was difficult to get a real feel for the car in qualifying set-up," said Button. "We also had a problem with the engine this morning and I wasn't able to get out in second practice.  Despite that, the lap was OK and I'm reasonably happy.

"I lost of a bit of time in the last sector but we're close enough to be able to get some of that back tomorrow.  I'm sure we can do a better job in the morning and look forward to a more positive race."

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