Renault confident of maintaining form

Following Jarno Trulli's provisional pole position in Friday's first qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, the Renault team is confident that it can repeat the performance in today's session that will set the grid for Sunday's race

Renault confident of maintaining form

The French manufacturer's director of engineering, Pat Symonds, said that he was not surprised by Trulli setting quickest 'low-fuel' Friday qualifying time for the second time in three races.

"Jarno's speed has never been in doubt," Symonds said. "That's why we employed him in the first place. I think what's significant is that he had a very poor run at the beginning of the season. And I don't mean a poor run personally, but a lot of luck went against him.

"Yes, he's been pushed by Fernando, and yes, he's pushed by us. But that's what it's all about."

Symonds also thinks that the car and, frequently, Renault's ability to run in free testing has proved important.

"The car is coming on in leaps and bounds," he said. "It was a good car to start the season and I think our rate of development has been good.

"Lot's of other circumstances come into it. For example, today, I think most of our competitors who weren't involved in the early testing had only about 11 or 12 laps in the dry before qualifying, whereas we were greatly in front of that."

On top of that, the track 'rubbered in' to a greater extent than normal on Friday afternoon, due to being washed clean by rain in morning practice. That meant a bigger advantage than normal in running later in the Friday session. Trulli was one of the last to run before the rain also afflicted qualifying, as was Jaguar's mark Webber, who wound up third fastest.

Even so, Symonds was optimistic that Renault can be a factor this weekend: "The car is competitive and the whole package is working well. This is the type of circuit that we believe we can be competitive on."

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