Friesacher Optimistic for the Race

Patrick Friesacher was left ruing a minor gearbox problem that cost him a bit of time during qualifying for the French Grand Prix, as his Minardi was once again locked in a tight battle with Jordan at the back of the field

Friesacher Optimistic for the Race

Friesacher was pipped by Narain Karthikeyan's Jordan for 16th place on the grid but the team believe their car has the ultimate pace to take the fight to their main rivals in tomorrow's race.

"I'm happy with today's qualifying," said Friesacher. "We did a good job and the car worked well apart from a slight problem with the downshift, which cost me a little bit of time.  Generally, though, I'm pleased with the lap and with our prospects for the race tomorrow."

Teammate Christijan Albers saw his efforts derailed by two massive sideways moments at the high-speed second chicane, which relegated him to the back of the grid.

"It was a reasonable qualifying lap, although not perfect, and there were two oversteering moments that lost me time," said the Dutchman. "I think we have a good strategy for tomorrow, however, so as usual, it will be maximum attack in the race."

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart added: "It's interesting to see that there is really nothing between us and our nearest rival, Jordan, in terms of lap times, and we look forward to an interesting race tomorrow."

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