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  F1: Alonso takes the French pole
Updated 03 July 2004, 14.53
Fernando Alonso
Michael Schumacher will have to put up with starting in second place as Fernando Alonso took pole position in the French Grand Prix.

The Spanish Renault driver qualified fastest, setting a lap of one minute 13.698 seconds to beat the world championship leader by 0.273secs.

David Coulthard took third place in his new McLaren car, just ahead of fellow Briton Jenson Button for BAR-Honda.

Jarno Trulli and Juan Pablo Montoya also made the top six.

At first it looked like Schumacher was on course to grab pole, when he was more than 0.2secs ahead of the Renault at the first split time.

But Alonso's position was confirmed when he cut his pace and dropped off later in the lap.

Confident

Despite the blow, Ferrari driver Schumacher still seemed confident.

"We're on the first row - we'll be there," he said.

The race will take place in Magny-Cours, France on Sunday.

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