Lauda Expects Tough Battle for Sixth Place

Jaguar boss Niki Lauda has predicted his team will have a tough time holding on to sixth place in the Constructors' Championship following a disappointing day for the Milton Keynes team.

Lauda Expects Tough Battle for Sixth Place

Jaguar boss Niki Lauda has predicted his team will have a tough time holding on to sixth place in the Constructors' Championship following a disappointing day for the Milton Keynes team.

The Ford-owned squad are currently one point ahead of both Jordan and British American Racing, who today enjoyed a better qualifying than Jaguar drivers Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa.

The Irishman, who was hit by a rare engine failure, had to settle for 14th position, while Spaniard de la Rosa could only be 17th fastest.

With the Honda-powered Jordans in seventh and eighth, and the BAR of Jacques Villeneuve in ninth, Lauda is expecting a hard time to keep their position after tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix, the final race of the year.

"We knew we were in for a tough time at this circuit given the high downforce demands it places on cars," said Lauda at the end of the day. "As demonstrated at Spa and Monza, we have come a long way since the beginning of this year, especially when it comes to low downforce configurations. We are, however, exposed at places like Suzuka where maximum downforce levels are a must.

"Eddie could probably have ended up a place or two higher, but his qualifying session came to a premature end after an engine failure â€" a rarity with the Cosworth engine. It was an instantaneous failure that came with no warning whatsoever and because of this, Eddie was unable to complete his final timed lap.

"With three Honda-powered cars in the top ten it is going to be very hard to hold onto our sixth place position in the Championship but as we have seen at Suzuka so many times, anything can happen."

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