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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 July 2006, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
French GP qualifying as it happened
1 M Schumacher (Ferrari) 1:15.493

2 F Massa (Ferrari) 1:15.510

3 F Alonso (Renault) 1:15.785

4 J Trulli (Toyota) 1:16.036

5 R Schumacher (Toyota) 1:16.091

6 K Raikkonen (McLaren) 1:16.281

7 G Fisichella (Renault) 1:16.345

8 P De La Rosa (McLaren) 1:16.632

9 N Rosberg (Williams) 1:18.272

10 D Coulthard (Red Bull) 1:18.663

Latest updates (all times BST):

1402: A great lap by Massa relegates Alonso to third on the grid as Schumacher leads an all-Ferrari front row. The team are jumping for joy in the pits, celebrating the German's fourth pole at Magny-Cours. Rosberg has done well to claim ninth but will suffer a 10-place penalty after his unscheduled engine change before qualifying.

1358: De La Rosa slumps down the timesheet as Schumacher and Alonso set the pace.

1354: Pedro de la Rosa, Juan Pablo Montoya's replacement at McLaren, is the first to post his hot lap on new tyres with 1:16.632.

1347: There are some worries in the Renault team as Alonso reports that he's having trouble with the car's grip on the track.

1346: Schumacher and Alonso add some early excitement to the traditionally slow start to the final shoot-out, wrestling with each other on the early turns. But the times are still slow as the drivers use the first few laps to burn off fuel before making their bid for pole position glory.

1343: The final session, shortened for the first time to 15 minutes, is under way with the remaining 10 drivers fighting it out for pole position.

1337: Schumacher sits pretty at the top after the second session as Mark Webber, Nick Heidfeld, Rubens Barrichello, Scott Speed and Christian Klien go out and take positions 11-16 respectively on the grid.

It's more disappointment for Honda as Barrichello fails to make it to the pole-position shoot-out. Earlier, British team-mate Button suffered a surprise early exit which he blamed on track congestion.

But David Coulthard still flies the flag for Britain, clocking 1:15.974 to squeeze into the final session.

1333: Michael Schumacher proves anything his brother can do, he can do better, jumping to the top of the standings with his hotlap of 1:15.111 - better than his lap record at Magny-Cours of 1:15.377 (set in 2004).

1328: Ralf Schumacher sets a blistering pace with 1:15.625, while Alonso gives Renault hope at their home Grand Prix with 1:15.706.

1324: Heidfeld is the only remaining BMW Sauber driver but is the first to set a quick time in the second session with 1:16.686.

1321: The second 15-minute session is under way with places 11-16 on the grid to be decided.

1315: The first 15-minute session is over with Vitantonio Liuzzi, Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button, Tiago Monteiro, Franck Montagny and Takuma Sato eliminated and taking positions 17-22 on the grid.

Clearly the big scalps of the opening session are Button and Villeneuve. Button manages 19th fastest, while Saturday practice leader Villeneuve is just one in front.

1313: Jenson Button's troubles continue as the Briton is struggling in 16th in his Honda and looks to be set to miss the cut.

1310: A lot of the drivers are leaving it late in this opening session, but Felipe Massa tops the standings by breaking the 1:17-mark.

1304: BMW Sauber's Nick Heifeld is first to post a serious time on a hot day at Magny-Cours with 1:17.938.

1300: The first period of qualifying is under way with cars going out to start their warm-ups. The track temperature is 53C and rising.

But it has emerged that Nico Rosberg will lose 10 places on Sunday's starting grid after an unscheduled engine change on Saturday.

A Williams spokeswoman for his Williams team said the Cosworth engine, which must last two race distances under Formula One regulations, had suffered damage from being over-revved at the previous US Grand Prix.

1230: With 30 minutes to go before the start of qualifying, the air temperature is 31C. The weather is sunny with humidity of 49%.

BMW Sauber were the surprise pacesetters in the final free practice at Magny-Cours on Saturday.

Jacques Villeneuve's lap of one minute 17.005 seconds topped the timesheets, finishing 0.044secs ahead of team-mate Heidfeld while Toyota's Jarno Trulli was third.

But Michael Schumacher's hopes of closing the gap on world championship leader Fernando Alonso suffered a blow as a fire broke out in the German's Ferrari after just five laps.

Schumacher, who trails Alonso by 19 points in the driver standings, was just 14th fastest and just ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa.

But world champion Alonso was also off form, settling for 16th quickest ahead of Renault's home Grand Prix.

  • The qualifying format sees all cars start on the track together, with three separate sessions in a one-hour period.

    The slowest six cars in the first 15-minute session drop out and take positions 17-22 on the starting grid. Six more are eliminated in the second session, taking places 11-16.

    The remaining 10 drivers then fight for pole position and the remaining places on the grid in the final 15-minute session.

    The final session used to be 20 minutes, but following a review it has been cut by five minutes.

    Another change sees any laps started before the chequered flag falls will count in the first two sessions - previously laps had to be completed before the flag.

    Cars which fail to reach the final session can be fully refuelled before the race starts whereas those in the top 10 can replace only what they used in the last part of qualifying.

    Schumacher leads Ferrari one-two
    15 Jul 06 |  Formula One
    Villeneuve sets Magny-Cours pace
    15 Jul 06 |  Formula One
    Montoya 'may make' McLaren return
    14 Jul 06 |  Formula One
    De la Rosa hopeful of F1 chance
    13 Jul 06 |  Formula One
    Montoya set to quit F1 for Nascar
    09 Jul 06 |  Formula One
    Button upbeat about revised car
    03 Jul 06 |  Formula One
    Schumacher bullish on title hopes
    12 Jul 06 |  Formula One


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