Heidfeld grabs pole at European GP

German driver Nick Heidfeld secures his first career pole position for Sunday's European Grand Prix.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:51 IST
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Nurburgring, Germany:

India's rookie Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan will start 19th on the grid while German driver Nick Heidfeld secured his first career pole position for tomorrow's European Grand Prix. A new qualifying format, introduced after last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, ensured pole position was confirmed Saturday after the Sunday morning session was scrapped and the grid decided on one single flying lap. Karthikeyan, who clocked 1 minute, 36.192 seconds to be ahead of only Christijan Albers of Minardi said he had anticipated a difficult qualifying session today despite good practice in the morning. "With a track really dirty with not much grip, I was the third driver to go in qualifying this afternoon so the circuit was still very dusty. "Moreover, the track temperature was very high, I think it was close to 50 C, therefore my car was quite difficult to drive. I have also made a small mistake, which cost me some time. Now we will focus on improving the car for my first race in Nurburgring tomorrow." Heidfeld of BMW-Williams claimed the pole position in 1:30.081 after an impeccable lap that put him ahead of an almost perfect Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren (1:30.197) and teammate Mark Webber (1:30.368). In the morning practice, Karthikeyan had managed 16th place after completing 12 laps, ahead of the second Sauber Petronas of Jacques Villeneuve while Tiago Monteiro spun his Jordan out before returning and setting the 18th best time. Christijan Albers was 19th in his Minardi ahead of team-mate Patrick Friesacher. During the fourth free practice session, Karthikeyan managed a quicker time, putting him ahead of Friesacher. "The sessions went well in general apart from a small spin for each driver. The Jordan Grand Prix team worked hard overnight and this morning to improve the EJ15's balance," Karthikeyan said. The Jordan team has run into trouble for using too many tyres in practice at the German track. Yesterday, the team was running its third car for newly signed driver Franck Montagny apparently allowing the Frenchman to run on six different sets of rubber in the course of the day, despite the fact that the rules say that the third driver can use only four sets. Although the team argued that this had been an inadvertent act, the FIA stewards ruled that Montagny had been unaware of the problem but as Jordan had gained an advantage from the action it should be banned from running the third car for one race, that is in Canada. Heidfeld, who finished second in the last Grand Prix at Monaco, continued his strong form to claim a thrilling maiden pole for Williams on his and engine manufacturer BMW's home soil. (PTI)