Panis Happy to Shine at Home

Frenchman Olivier Panis was happy after putting on a good performance in front of his home crowd in today's qualifying for the French Grand Prix.

Panis Happy to Shine at Home

Frenchman Olivier Panis was happy after putting on a good performance in front of his home crowd in today's qualifying for the French Grand Prix.

"It is important for me to perform well in front of my home crowd and I am pleased with the lap today," said Toyota driver Panis, who set the fifth fastest time of the day. "We decided to go out on intermediate tyres given the changing wet-dry conditions throughout the session, but I realised by the first corner that we should have opted for slicks.

"It was very difficult to predict, though, because the track improved so quickly. All in all, we did a very good job for the first day and we are in a strong position for tomorrow's qualifying."

Panis, celebrating ten years since he made his Formula One debut, outqualified his rookie teammate Cristiano da Matta, who had little time to get to grips with the Magny-Cours circuit today as the rain hampered the drivers' progress.

Despite that, the Brazilian CART champion wound up 10th fastest.

"In the circumstances, my lap was not too bad, and I think that given my limited knowledge of this track, I got the best out of the car," said da Matta. "We went out on intermediate tyres, which I think was the right thing to do, although the track was much drier than I expected it to be.

"I'm satisfied with the outcome of the session, but we will have to wait and see what happens tomorrow, especially if it is completely dry."

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