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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 August, 2004, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Trulli grabs Belgian pole
QUALIFYING TIMES
Jarno Trulli
1 J Trulli 1:56.232
2 M Schumacher 1:56.304
3 F Alonso 1:56.686
4 D Coulthard 1:57.990
5 G Fisichella 1:58.040
6 R Barrichello 1:58.175
7 M Webber 1:58.729
8 F Massa 1:59.008
Jarno Trulli has taken pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix after benefiting from a brief respite in the rain at the Spa-Francorchamps track.

The Renault driver set a time of one minute 56.232 seconds after a drying track allowed him to be one of few drivers able to use intermediate tyres.

Michael Schumacher missed out on pole by just 0.072secs despite having to run in heavier rain.

McLaren's David Coulthard was fourth, with Jenson Button's BAR 12th.

Trulli was one of only three drivers who ran when the track was at its driest, enabling them to use intermediate tyres rather than full wet-weather rubber and benefit from extra grip.

But the Italian made better use of that advantage than team-mate Fernando Alonso, who will line up third behind Schumacher, and Coulthard.

Trulli said: "I was very lucky with the gamble with the intermediate tyres. The decision came a few seconds before I left the pits.

"Conditions were still very difficult, but it worked well for me and Fernando."

Giancarlo Fisichella was fifth for Sauber, ahead of the second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello.

Jarno Trulli
It was a lottery - for us to get that extra bit of rain just 10 minutes from the end
Michael Schumacher
Mark Webber's Jaguar, the Sauber of Felipe Massa, Olivier Panis' Toyota and Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren rounded out the top 10.

All the other drivers had to run full wet tyres, although the track progressively dried from the beginning of the session until it started to rain as Juan Pablo Montoya took to the track shortly after Coulthard.

Montoya was already out on his intermediate tyres and could qualify only 11th.

In the circumstances, Schumacher's time underlines the superiority of his car and Bridgestone tyres.

But the German, who will be champon for the seventh time if he wins the race, said his was not a particularly good lap.

"It was actually not so fantastic," said Schumacher. "I struggled a little bit at the top of the hill into turn five, I got a bit sideways and lost the grip there, lost a couple of tenths and then towards the end it got a little bit tricky."

He added that he was worried about the fast-starting capabilities of the Renaults.

"It was a lottery - for us to get that extra bit of rain just 10 minutes from the end, which wasn't supposed to happen," Schumacher said.

I feel we will have a strong race
David Coulthard
"But still we have to be happy with second.

"We have a big challenge in the race because these guys (the Renaults) are fantastic starters. We hope our car can compete."

Coulthard said he was hopeful of his best race of the year after qualifying fourth.

"I was a little bit worried at the start of my lap as it began to rain," the Scot said.

"However, the intermediates we chose to use shortly before my run gave us a good qualifying time, especially as this was my first lap on these tyres.

"The car has been set up for the race with dry weather in mind as is predicted, so we will have to wait and see tomorrow, but I feel we will have a strong race."




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