Toyota chasing down fifth place at home

Toyota is confident that it will be able to claim fifth place in the constructors' championship in their home race at Suzuka. Team boss Ove Andersson says the car should suit the characteristics of the Japanese circuit.

Toyota chasing down fifth place at home

"We are again fully focused on qualifying our cars in a position on the grid from which to fight for a top-eight race result," said Andersson. "Suzuka should suit our car quite well, so I am optimistic we can put a TF103 in the top half of the grid."

"The Japanese Grand Prix is possibly the most important of the season for Panasonic Toyota Racing," added Andersson. "Not only is it our official home race, but we also find ourselves in a very close battle in the constructors' championship, with only six points splitting 5th place from 9th."

The fight for fifth is even more intense than the one for first between Williams and Ferrari. Just six points cover Sauber, BAR, Jaguar, Toyota and Jordan. With a maximum of 18 points available to teams at Suzuka, a result like Sauber's third and fifth places at Indianapolis could allow Toyota to vault past the rest. They're currently five points behind fifth-placed Sauber.

After some strong qualifying and race performances this year, Toyota are arguably the team that most deserves fifth in the championship. But their cause won't be helped by this being Cristiano da Matta's first outing on a track that is notoriously difficult to learn. It could mean Olivier Panis will have the main points-scoring responsibility on Sunday.

"It will be a special atmosphere in Suzuka this weekend," said Panis. "Being so close to 5th place in the championship, it will be our aim to end the season in the best position possible and I am as determined as ever to fight for points."

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