Toyota have 'Dream Chance' in Japan

Toyota have a dream chance of a first Formula One victory after securing pole for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, team principal Tsutomu Tomita said

Toyota have 'Dream Chance' in Japan

German Ralf Schumacher was quickest in Saturday's rain-soaked qualifying at Suzuka after a late deluge washed out the hopes of new World Champions Fernando Alonso and both McLarens.

Britain's Jenson Button lines up alongside Schumacher for Honda-powered BAR.

It was Toyota's second pole position since the Japanese team's arrival in Formula One in 2002.

"This is the result of three and half years of hard graft," an elated Tomita told reporters. "Pole position gives us a dream chance. The first corner will be crucial but if we avoid trouble we have possibilities."

Toyota's only previous pole position was in Indianapolis in June when Italian Jarno Trulli ran on an almost empty tank as the Michelin-supplied teams did not race due to tyre safety fears.

Trulli failed to set a time in Saturday's qualifying after spinning out in slippery conditions.

"It's a great opportunity but luck will also be a big factor," said Tomita. "Being on the front row means we can save critical time (overtaking), though we won't be thinking about winning until it happens."

Difficult Task

"Ideally we would like to clear the first corner without incident and then pull away. But even if we can do that it will a very difficult task to actually win."

Toyota have an outside chance of catching Ferrari for third place in the Constructors' Championship with only the Suzuka and Shanghai races left this year.

However, Tomita also preached caution ahead of Toyota's home Grand Prix, naming Button and Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella, who was third in qualifying, as the danger men.

He also refused to rule out a challenge from new World Champion Fernando Alonso's Renault and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, who will start from 16th and 17th respectively.

"We don't know what the other teams with do about race strategy," he said. "We need to be careful of Button and try to beat him into the first corner.

"There is also Fisichella and even though Raikkonen and Alonso are way back it doesn't mean they won't make a charge.

"Our job is just to get through the first corner and then keep putting up quick lap times. It will be interesting."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Alaistar Himmer
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