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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 October 2006, 06:04 GMT 07:04 UK
Japan GP qualifying as it happened
1 F Massa (Ferrari) 1:29.599

2 M Schumacher (Ferrari) 1:29.711

3 R Schumacher (Toyota) 1:29.989

4 J Trulli (Toyota) 1:30.039

5 F Alonso (Renault) 1:30.371

6 G Fisichella (Renault) 1:30.599

7 J Button (Honda) 1:30.992

8 R Barrichello (Honda) 1:31.478

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

0703: So it will be an all-Ferrari front row at Suzuka but it is Massa rather than Schumacher who grabs pole. Title rival Alonso has to settle for fifth on the grid after an impressive showing from Toyota on their home track.

0655: Alonso is putting new tyres on as he prepares for one more attempt at overthrowing Schumacher's time.

0653: With the threat of heavier rain, drivers are taking their flying laps early with Schumacher looking likely to continue his dominance.

0645: The final 15-minute session is under way with the remaining 10 drivers fighting it out for pole position. Some drops of rain are now falling, so it remains to be seen if this will have any effect on the Ferraris' dominance.

0638: Michael Schumacher sits pretty at the top after the second session as Kimi Raikkonen, Robert Kubica , Pedro de la Rosa, Mark Webber, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Christijan Albers are eliminated and taking positions 17-22 on the grid.

It's a poor qualifying session for McLaren with both De La Rosa and Raikkonen failing to make it to the final knockout session.

"The Ferrari-Bridgestone combination is working perfectly and this is very bad news for Renault."
F1 racing pundit Maurice Hamilton

"I'm waiting for a reaction from Renault and it's just not coming."
Honda test driver Anthony Davidson

0629: Michael Schumacher sets a blistering pace, two seconds faster than pace leader Jarno Trulli, with 1:28.954.

"Trulli's clearly found a good line on the track, climbing the curbs or not climbing the curbs, but whatever he's doing is working"
Honda test driver Anthony Davidson

0621: The second 15-minute session is under way with places 11-16 on the grid to be decided.

0616: The first 15-minute session is over with David Coulthard, Robert Doornbos, Scott Speed, Takuma Sato, Tiago Monteiro and Sakon Yamamoto eliminated and taking positions 17-22 on the grid. Meanwhile at the other end, Felipe Massa is fastest with 1:30.112, while Fernando Alonso qualifies fifth quickest.

0604: Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher are first to post times at Suzuka, but Super Aguri driver Sakon Yamamoto has already run into trouble with his car coming to an abrupt stop without even posting a time.

0600: The first 15-minute period of qualifying is under way with cars going out to start their warm-ups. The track temperature is 32C and air temperature is 24C.

The slowest six cars set to drop out and take positions 17-22 on the starting grid. Michael Schumacher holds the record pole of one minute 31.317 seconds from 2002, while brother Ralf claimed pole last year.


Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso head into the most important qualifying session of their season at Japan's demanding Suzuka track from 0600 BST.

The two men are tied on points at the head of the championship, which Ferrari driver Schumacher leads by virtue of having one more win.

Schumacher, who set the pace in final practice two seconds ahead of Alonso, can win the title this weekend if he wins the race and Alonso fails to score by finishing lower than eighth.

Any other result would keep the title race open until Brazil in two weeks' time.



SEE ALSO
Schumacher sets electrifying pace
07 Oct 06 |  Formula One


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