Rubens thrilled with home pole
Brazilian GP - Ferrari - Qualifying Report

Rubens Barrichello was ecstatic this afternoon when he claimed pole position for his home Brazilian Grand Prix. Barrichello, the penultimate man on track, grabbed pole away from McLaren driver David Coulthard by just one-hundredth of a second. It is the second pole position of the season for Ferrari, the first for Rubens Barrichello. It is also the third time that a Ferrari starts the Brazilian Grand Prix from pole while it is the Scuderia's 160th pole and the seventh for Barrichello.

Rubens has endured no luck in his home Grand Prix at Interlagos after failing to finish the event on the last eight occasions. However, according to statistics, a Brazilian should win the event this year following the success of Emerson Fittipaldi in 1973, Nelson Piquet in 1983 and Ayrton Senna a further decade later.

“I feel fantastic! Ever since I was a kid, all I wanted to do was to be herein a competitive car, waving at the crowd from pole position,” Rubens said. “It was great to see the reaction of the fans, even though I was keeping a close eye on Mark (Webber.) On my lap, I concentrated on not over- driving and not making any mistakes. Usually, I have the split times on my display, but today I wanted to be on my own out on the track and I asked the team to switch it off. I had a good run, but all that counts is tomorrow. The whole day will be a challenge and I know the pressure will build. But I am not worried about that and, like in a football match, you always play better at home. The weather? I will be asking my grandmother about that later."

Coulthard will join Barrichello on the front of the grid, with Australian Webber, who finished fastest in Friday qualifying, third following another impressive drive. Teammate Michael Schumacher will start from a little further back, the five time champion qualifying in seventh place.

“First of all, I must say I am very happy for Rubens, who has never had much luck here. It must be a wonderful feeling for him,” Michael said. “As for myself, I did not manage a perfect lap, having made a small mistake in the first corner. Considering how close the times are, my grid position is the result of this small slip up. Seventh is not the best position, but we will have to see what strategy the cars in front of me have adopted. On top of that, the weather might change quickly and affect the outcome of the race. It will be a tough afternoon, but as usual I will try my best.”

“It was a very closely fought qualifying session, with fifteen cars all within the same second,” added Jean Todt. “Rubens drove a very good lap. It is great for him and for Ferrari to have taken pole here, in front of such an enthusiastic crowd. While his time is not far off that of those at the front, Michael only managed to take seventh place on the starting grid. Given the new regulations his chances are still intact. Bridgestone did a very good job. Tomorrow, we can expect a tough and demanding race in which the various strategies and the changeable weather conditions could play a key role.”

“I am very happy for Rubens, who put in a really super lap,” concluded Ross Brawn. “It's very exciting that he has taken pole position here in Brazil. We are looking forward to a great race from him tomorrow. Michael had a few difficulties, but I think we have a good car for the race. Now we can only wait and see what happens tomorrow.”