R3 repays Irvine's faith

Jaguar introduced revised front suspension on its troublesome R3 for the Belgian Grand Prix and combined with some excellent Michelin tyres the changes did the trick and the team enjoyed its best qualifying session of the year

R3 repays Irvine's faith

For Eddie Irvine, who's had precious little to celebrate since finishing fourth in the first race of the year, eighth place on the grid was just reward for putting together a great qualifying run and taking full advantage of the car's improved performance.

"We had a feeling going into qualifying that we could get it together and deliver a respectable performance," he said. "We have certainly gone quicker than even we expected and all credit must go to Michelin for producing a good compound. After such a difficult season, we now find ourselves at the sharp end and I will be looking to put on a good fight tomorrow.

"The car felt pretty well balanced throughout and felt like it could deliver the lap time almost immediately. The team must also be credited for doing a great job and let's hope I can repay them tomorrow with a similar performance and who knows, maybe even a point."

Team-mate Pedro de la Rosa had been quicker than Irvine through most of the session, so was disappointed to drop back to 11th after making a mistake on his final run.

"If I am honest, I am a little disappointed in myself for not doing a slightly better job," he admitted. "In the end, my time did not improve because I locked the front wheels going into La Source during my third effort and I also aborted my final run because of a mistake I made at the end of sector three. Nevertheless, we are very well-placed to go racing tomorrow and that in itself is long overdue."

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