Panis Upbeat after Strong Qualifying

Frenchman Olivier Panis is confident of a strong Spanish Grand Prix following a good performance in today's qualifying at the Barcelona circuit.

Panis Upbeat after Strong Qualifying

Frenchman Olivier Panis is confident of a strong Spanish Grand Prix following a good performance in today's qualifying at the Barcelona circuit.

Toyota driver Panis posted an impressive sixth fastest time with the Michelin-shod TF103, boosting his chances of scoring Toyota's first points of the 2003 season.

"I am very happy with the result today," said Panis. "We had quite a few problems with the handling yesterday but the team reacted very well to improve the car and I felt a big improvement in the set-up this morning. My qualifying lap today was very good and I think we are on a positive strategy for tomorrow's race.

"We have shown in pre-season testing and during this weekend that the TF103 is very competitive at this Barcelona track. Starting from sixth on the grid, I feel that we are in a strong position for the race."

Brazilian Cristiano da Matta failed to repeat his performance from Friday and, after setting the fourth quickest time in first qualifying, the CART champion had to settle for 13th position.

"I do not think my qualifying lap was perfect, but it was not too bad either," da Matta said. "We missed the settings and the balance of the car a little bit and I was suffering from oversteer, so I could not push that hard. I am not as happy with the car's balance as I was yesterday, so now we have to try to figure out why and learn for the future.

"We were just too much on the oversteer side. We can do small corrections for the race but nothing big, so I will try my best to get as far up the field as possible with this starting position."

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