The rain held off for Saturday’s running in Melbourne as Lotus Racing took to the track in earnest, keen to maintain their ‘best of the new teams’ record. Throughout the 3rd Practice both cars ran well, with Italian driver Jarno Trulli finishing with a time of 1.29.800 after 16 laps and Heikki Kovalainen completing 19 laps on a best time of 1.29.539. In qualifying itself Lotus Racing successfully maintained their record of best new team, finishing with Heikki Kovalainen 19th on 1:28:797 and Jarno Trulli 20th on 1.29.111.
Jarno Trulli (Lotus-Cosworth T127-03): “I had a problem with the seat which meant it wasn’t easy to drive, bouncing around in the car, so it was a difficult qualifying session. I’m pleased for the team though, as both cars are ahead of the new teams and we’re performing really well. It’s good to see that we have quite a big gap to the other new teams on this track and we’re very satisfied with that – we’re confident for tomorrow and we’ll do our best to try and finish the race again.”
Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus-Cosworth T127-01): “It was a good run this afternoon. I got a good lap out of the car and out of the tyres and in general the car feels much better than it did in Bahrain. We have progressed with the set up, and as a team we are really stepping forward. Our aim for tomorrow is to make sure we stay ahead of the other new teams, and finish the race with both cars. I’m so happy with Lotus, and feel I have the chance to show what I can really do.”
Mike Gascoyne, Lotus Racing Chief Technical Officer: “It was a good solid job in qualifying, both drivers did very well and got the most out of the cars, and I’m very happy with the whole team. Apologies to Jarno for the seat problem, which must have hindered him. One area we’re very pleased with is the growing relationship with Cosworth from whom we’ve had excellent reliability to date.”
Team Principal Tony Fernandes rounded up the day’s achievement saying “Once again Lotus Racing has done us proud. Consistency and reliability are still our key aims, and the whole team has successfully maintained our quiet progress. Next step is to take the fight to Toro Rosso and BMW Sauber and we’ll keep on fighting to achieve that. As you know Australia is an important place for me, and I – along with all our fans and Clive’s lucky cap – am very much looking forward to seeing Lotus once again on the grid in Melbourne.”