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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 October 2005, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Ralf targets first win for Toyota
Giancarlo Fisichella
Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button will both hope to record their team's first win after qualifying on the front row at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Toyota's Schumacher edged BAR's Button to pole at Suzuka as heavy rain slowed the later starters in qualifying.

"It was very slippery out there. We were lucky, I didn't expect to qualify on pole," said Germany's Schumacher.

"We have a good chance since some of the strong cars are further back so we could have a strong race."

Schumacher, who joined Toyota at the start of the year, clinched his sixth pole position and first since Canada last year.

It is never going to be easy even if the McLarens are so far back
Jenson Button

He added: "It is incredible. I have always loved Suzuka, I have been racing here since 1995, and this is the first time for a Japanese team being on pole, which is obviously great."

Overnight rain left the track wet for the early qualifiers but the last four drivers were hampered by a torrential downpour.

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion, will start from 14th, while Renault's new world champion Fernando Alonso limped to 16th in the deluge.

"I don't know what we could have done today in these conditions," said Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn, whose other driver Rubens Barrichello was ninth.

"It was just a lottery in which we did not pull out any winning tickets."

The McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya were also affected and will start from the back of the grid.

Jenson Button (left) and Ralf Schumacher

Raikkonen, who already had a 10-place penalty after changing his engine on Friday, coasted round, while team-mate Montoya aborted before his flying lap.

Button, chasing his first-ever Grand Prix victory, was the last of the drivers to avoid the rain and admitted that he and Ralf Schumacher had been in the right place at the right time.

"We were very lucky, the both of us," Button said. "It just started raining just after my run.

"It's the first time we ran this tyre because we ran a different tyre this morning. On the out lap I knew I had some big issues.

"I had massive understeer, I couldn't get my tyres to work. It felt like a slow lap so to be second I am reasonably happy."

Report: BBC Five Live's Maurice Hamilton


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