For immediate release
April 4, 2003
Mark Webber was able to demonstrate his wet-weather prowess to the fullest today by posting the fastest time in today’s rain-lashed pre-qualifying session at Interlagos, Brazil. The 26-year old Jaguar Racing driver set a time of 1min 23.111s and in the process denied local hero, Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello, of provisional pole by 1/10th of a second. Webber’s achievement marked the first pole for his Milton Keynes-based team and the first ever pole in the wet for tyre manufacturer Michelin!
Persistent rain throughout today kept track running to a minimum although the Jaguar Racing team was able to complete its workload during the morning’s two hour test session. Rain greeted the start of the opening practice session and Webber only ventured once and was forced to abort his flying lap when team-mate Antonio aqua-planed off the track and caused the session to be red-flagged.
The rain continued as this afternoon’s qualifying session kicked off, with Rubens Barrichello setting the pace with a 1min 23.249s. At the half-way mark in the session, the rain had eased but the track remained wet and 10 minutes later light rain began falling again. Pizzonia raised the bar for Webber by posting a strong lap of 1min 25.764s to take fifth fastest but the Aussie responded superbly by dipping into the low 23s with a time of 1min 23.111s.
“It’s been a pretty good day for us,” said a typically understated Webber, “We did a good tyre comparison this morning but we’ve still got a bit of work to do with our balance in the dry. The car ran faultlessly all morning but then we had the wet session when we decided there was no point in risking too much as the conditions were pretty bad and visibility virtually nil. So, we did a little bit of work instead and set the car up for qualifying. I think the track was a bit better towards the end of the session than when the main guys were out at the start. But, even if we had run in their conditions, we would have been in the top five so overall we’re very happy with what we did in the conditions. It’s not easy to do a lap when the track is changing before your eyes.”
- End -
Mark Webber is the Team Principal of MW Arden, a three car team in the new GP3 series supporting European Grands Prix.