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Last Updated:  Saturday, 5 April, 2003, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Barrichello powers to home pole
Rubens Barrichello waves to the home fans after setting pole position in Brazil
Barrichello delighted his fans
Home favourite Rubens Barrichello took a rapturously-received pole position in Saturday's final qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Sao Paolo-born driver's flying lap also gave Ferrari some welcome relief after world champion Michael Schumacher had secured only seventh place on the grid - his worst qualifying performance for nearly five years.

McLaren's David Coulthard had looked like taking pole when he nosed ahead of long-time leader Jarno Trulli, who had been the first driver to break one minute 14 seconds.

McLaren's other driver, championship leader Kimi Raikkonen, could not better his team-mate's time, but Barrichello then blasted round in 1:13.807 to set the new mark.

The Brazilian crowd celebrated wildly but their hero - who was born just yards from the Interlagos circuit - had to sweat as the last man on the track, Jaguar's Mark Webber, made a flying start to his lap.

LEADING GRID POSITIONS
1 Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) 1:13.807
2 David Coulthard (McLaren) 1:13.818
3 Mark Webber (Jaguar) 1:13.851
4 Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) 1:13.866
5 Jarno Trulli (Renault) 1:13.953
6 Ralf Schumacher (Williams) 1:14.124

But the Australian, fastest in the wet during Friday's opening qualifying session, could not sustain his speed and finished in third, splitting the McLarens of Coulthard and Raikkonen.

Juan Pablo Montoya had set the early pace when he clocked 1:14:223 but soon saw a string of drivers better his time and eventually qualified ninth.

Barrichello was delighted to become the first Brazilian to set pole since his mentor and idol, the late Ayrton Senna, in 1994.

Barrichello, who has not scored points at home since 1994 when he was driving for Jordan, said: "It feel fantastic but I haven't done anything yet. It's tomorrow that counts and it is going to be a tough race.

"I always seem to have a tough time here but it's great to put the car on pole and see all the public though I was looking at Mark as well.

"I have always wanted to be able to satisfy the home crowd by getting pole position, and now my only wish is to win."

Coulthard, who won the opening race in Australia, said: "That was my tidiest qualifying lap of the first three Grands Prix so far.

Mark Webber was a surprise third fastest at Interlagos
Webber was surprisingly fast

"You never feel as fulfilled as the old qualifying session but it was not a bad lap and it will be interesting to see who has got what fuel on board tomorrow."

His remarks reflect the uncertainty that has marked the end of qualifying at every race this year following the introduction of new rules that forbid refuelling between qualifying and race.

The regulation means that teams with slower cars can run less fuel in qualifying and mix it with the faster teams - which is what everyone in F1 suspects Jaguar have done with Webber.

However, the Australian believes the struggling team may spring a few surprises in the race, which starts at 1800 BST on Sunday.

Webber said: "This had nothing to do with what happened yesterday. The two guys in front might have more fuel for tomorrow but we are pretty competitive here.

"It's going to be a long race for us but it's been a good weekend so far. We have been working really hard."




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"The story of Sao Paulo has only just begun"


BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX

INTERLAGOS CONTROVERSY

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE-BY-RACE
 

GET INTO F1
 
 


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