Ralf welcomes first point of 2006

Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher welcomed the point scored in today's Malaysian Grand Prix and admitted he was happy with the improved race pace of his TF106 car

Ralf welcomes first point of 2006

The Japanese outfit had a torrid time at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix after struggling to generate heat into their tyres.

Things, however, looked slightly better in Malaysia and, despite an engine blow-up in qualifying, Schumacher completed a strong performance to climb up to eighth place after starting from the back of the grid.

"That was a very interesting race and it is obviously good news to have scored our first point of the year so we are very happy with today's result," said Schumacher. "We certainly could not have expected that with a three-stop race from the back of the grid. We are also happy that our times showed that we are again competitive.

"But it was a difficult race today and of course that does not mean that we have solved all our problems. We have the cooler weather of Melbourne next so we will be testing in Paul Ricard next week to be as prepared as possible for that.

"We hope to be able to keep up this level of pace at the coming races. We have to keep fighting and try to push for the podium again as soon as possible."

Teammate Jarno Trulli was also happy for the team and claimed he could have finished in the points had his car not been damaged at the start of the race.

The Italian finished in ninth.

"I'm delighted that we scored a point with Ralf today," said Trulli. "We should probably have finished with both cars in the points but it was really bad luck for me today. My afternoon got off to an unfortunate start when I suffered a broken diffuser when someone hit me from behind, just like in Hungary last year.

"That destroyed the rear of the car and that cost me today because I could have scored points.

"From then on I was suffering a mixture of oversteer and understeer and it was a big struggle so I just concentrated on driving as quickly as possible. We tried to adjust the car at the pit stops but obviously with the diffuser broken we could do very little.

"It's good that our pace has shown an improvement since Bahrain and we've gained some important data. We know we will succeed if we keep our heads down and work hard."

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