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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 March, 2005, 04:04 GMT
Alonso storms to Malaysia GP pole
Fernando Alonso
1 F Alonso (Renault)
2 J Trulli (Toyota)
3 G Fisichella (Renault)
4 M Webber (Williams)
5 R Schumacher (Toyota)
6 K Raikkonen) McLaren
7 C Klien (Red Bull)
8 D Coulthard (Red Bull)
Renault's Fernando Alonso has grabbed pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix with a stunning lap at Sepang.

Alonso, fastest in Saturday's first qualifying session, extended his advantage with a combined time of three minutes 7.672 seconds.

That put him 0.253secs ahead of Toyota driver Jarno Trulli, with the second Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella third.

Williams' Mark Webber was fourth, with Britons David Coulthard and Jenson Button eighth and ninth.

The much-fancied McLaren drivers had a poor session, with Kimi Raikkonen dropping behind Webber and Ralf Schumacher's Toyota to line up sixth place and Juan Pablo Montoya slipping to 11th place.

"I'm a little bit disappointed," said Raikkonen. "I experienced some understeer and lost two grid positions."

Ferrari were in even worse shape, with Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher qualifying only 12th and 13th.

Englishman Anthony Davidson, standing in for the poorly Takuma Sato at BAR, was 15th.

Alonso said: "I'm extremely happy to keep the pole position because I had some doubts about which strategy other teams can choose and maybe losing the gap we found on Saturday."

Fisichella said he was "optimistic" that Renault had the right strategy for the race, but said he expected the Ferraris to be strong in the race.

He said he believed Ferrari had run with a lot of fuel in final qualifying - cars are not allowed to refuel between qualifying and the start of the race - to provide themselves with a strategic advantage.

"I think that maybe they've got a lot of fuel - they're going to try a very long first stint," Fisichella said.

"They're a good pace to overtake some cars - at the end of the race, I think they'll be there. They're going to fight for the podium."

Grid positions and qualifying times for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang:

1 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault one minute 32.582 seconds 3:07.672
2 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 3:07.925
3 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 3:08.448
4 Mark Webber (Aus) Williams-BMW 3:08.904
5 Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 3:09.007
6 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 3:09.483
7 Christian Klien (Aut) Red Bull 3:09.589
8 David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull 3:09.700
9 Nick Heidfeld (Ger) Williams-BMW 3:09.917
10 Jenson Button (GB) BAR-Honda 3:09.832
11 Juan Pablo Montoya (Col) McLaren-Mercedes 3:10.090
12 Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Ferrari 3:11.502
13 Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 3:11.633
14 Felipe Massa (Brz) Sauber 3:11.884
15 Anthony Davidson (GB) BAR-Honda 3:11.890
16 Jacques Villeneuve (Can) Sauber 3:12.995
17 Narain Karthikeyan (Ind) Jordan 3:17.656
18 Tiego Monteiro (Por) Jordan 3.17.962
19 Patrick Friesacher (Aut) Minardi 3:21.186
20 Christijan Albers (Net) Minardi 3:23.001

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