Qualifying: Another pole for Ralf

Ralf Schumacher scored his third pole position of the season in qualifying for Sunday's French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. Williams-BMW team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya will start second, ahead of world championship leader Michael Schumacher of Ferrari

Qualifying: Another pole for Ralf

Schumacher Jnr lapped in 1m15.019s, just over a tenth of a second faster than Montoya, who drove a storming middle sector but lost out in the first and last elements. Schumacher Snr set the fastest first sector of all, but couldn't maintain his advantage and slipped to third, 0.461secs slower than his younger brother.

"It wasn't easy, even if it looked like that," said Ralf. "Montoya came very close. It looks like Williams has a slight advantage this weekend and we need make more of it than in Montreal."

Montoya said: "It went extremely well because I struggled a lot [in practice] this morning. I had a big understeer in sector one which cost me time, but apart from that it was pretty good. Sector two was good, and sector three was a lot faster than I went this morning. I think we have a really good car for tomorrow."

Michael Schumacher said: "Ferrari's performance is not quite where we expected it to be this weekend. We had hoped to be stronger."

Kimi Raikkonen was unable to repeat his Nurburgring qualifying form, but was fourth fastest nonetheless for McLaren-Mercedes, a tenth faster than team-mate David Coulthard. Jarno Trulli outpaced Renault colleague Fernando Alonso by a tenth of a second for sixth position, while the second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello was a lacklustre eighth.

Mark Webber (Jaguar) and Olivier Panis (Toyota) were closely matched once again in ninth and 10th.

Antonio Pizzonia produced a tidy lap to place 11th in the second Jaguar, just ahead of the BAR-Honda of Jacques Villeneuve. Cristiano da Matta was 13th for Toyota, ahead of Jenson Button, who has suffered a troubled weekend for BAR. The Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen were next up, ahead of the Jordans of Giancarlo Fisichella (who suffered a big slide at Lycee) and Ralph Firman.

After their day in the sun on Friday, Minardi came back to earth with a bump. Jos Verstappen was 19th and Justin Wilson, who was forced to use the spare car after his own broke down in the warm-up session, was 20th.

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