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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 October 2005, 05:18 GMT 06:18 UK
Ralf charges to Japanese GP pole
QUALIFYING POSITIONS
Ralf Schumacher
1 R Schumacher 1:46.106
2 J Button 1:46.141
3 G Fisichella 1:46.276
4 C Klien 1:46.464
5 T Sato 1:46.841
6 D Coulthard 1:46.982
7 M Webber 1:47.233
8 J Villenueve 1:47.440
Toyota's Ralf Schumacher powered to pole position at Suzuka as lashing rain hampered the later starters in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Schumacher set a time of one minute 46.106 to edge out Britain's Jenson Button (1:46.141) with Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella third in 1:46.276.

As the conditions worsened, Michael Schumacher struggled to 14th after setting the fastest time in practice.

World champion Fernando Alonso was also affected and will start from 16th.

Kimi Raikkonen chose not to push with the Suzuka circuit awash and cruised to 17th, aware that he has a 10-place penalty for an engine switch on Friday.

We were lucky, I didn't expect to qualify on pole
Ralf Schumacher

The Finn's McLaren team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya, last to go, also aborted his flying lap to avoid taking any risks.

Austria's Christian Klien (1:46.464) was fourth in drier conditions earlier on with Japan's Takuma Sato fifth and David Coulthard sixth.

The Jordan of Tiago Monteiro and Jarno Trulli's Toyota both span off at the Degner corner.

Toyota's last pole position came in Indianapolis at the controversial United States Grand Prix.

Ralf Schumacher - who clinched his sixth pole position - will start at the front for the first time since Canada last year.

Coulthard was first out and recorded a solid time of 1:46.892 in damp conditions to lead the standings for much of the session.

Jenson Button
It felt like a slow lap so to be second I am reasonably happy
Jenson Button

Coulthard's mark was eventually beaten by home favourite Sato, the 11th driver out.

Klien allowed his Red Bull team-mate the lead for a lap before taking over until Ralf Schumacher hit the track.

Button was the last of the drivers to avoid the rain as Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello struggled for grip and slipped to a disappointing ninth as the track slowed, though Fisichella managed to set a quick time going next.

But the last four drivers out - Michael Schumacher, Alonso, Raikkonen and Montoya - were all hit by a deluge.

The quartet have won 16 of the season's 17 races between them.


1. Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota one minute 46.106 seconds
2. Jenson Button (GB) BAR 1:46.141
3. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1:46.276
4. Christian Klien (Aut) Red Bull 1:46.464
5. Takuma Sato (Jap) BAR 1:46.841
6. David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull 1:46.892
7. Mark Webber (Aus) Williams 1:47.233
8. Jacques Villeneuve (Can) Sauber 1:47.440
9. Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Ferrari 1:48.248
10. Felipe Massa (Bra) Sauber 1:48.278
11. Narain Karthikeyan (Ind) Jordan 1:48.718
12. Antonio Pizzonia (Bra) Williams 1:48.898
13. Christijan Albers (Ned) Minardi 1:50.843
14. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1:52.676
15. Robert Doornbos (Ned) Minardi 1:52.894
16. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:54.667
17. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren 2:02.309
18. Tiago Monteiro (Por) Jordan no time
19. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota no time
20. Juan Pablo Montoya (Col) McLaren no time




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