Stunning Trulli putsToyota back on the podium 22 Jun 2008
Toyota proved their return to form in Montreal a fortnight ago was no stroke of luck in Magny-Cours on Sunday, as Jarno Trulli secured the teams first podium in over two years. Trulli crossed the finish line third behind the dominant Ferraris of race winner Felipe Massa and second-placed Kimi Raikkonen.
Toyota arrived in France motivated by their fourth and sixth in Canada and on Saturday the TF108s strong pace continued, with Trulli and team mate Timo Glock both making it through to Q3. As Sundays race got underway things only got better. After a strong start, during which Trulli was able to pass the Renault of Fernando Alonso, the Italian settled into third, a position he had to work very hard to defend from McLarens Heikki Kovalainen late in the race.
"What a great result and a great weekend by the whole team, said Trulli. Today was a great race, hard and tough. We had a good pace, even if we had to battle with some cars that were quicker than us. When the rain came at the end I had to take care because it's always difficult to judge how bad it is when you're in front.
But I got back into a rhythm and had a wheel-to-wheel fight with Heikki, just like in go-karts. The team made no mistakes this weekend, from the people in the factory who made the new parts on the car to the mechanics who did perfect pit stops today. There's still more to do but today we can be very satisfied. The team is doing a great job, the car is much more competitive and everyone is motivated. Things are moving on."
Trullis podium is the Japanese teams first since Ralf Schumacher finished third in the 2006 Australian Grand Prix and the Italians first since the 2005 Spanish race. The strong result was a fitting tribute to the teams former principal Ove Andersson, who was killed recently during an historic car rally in South Africa.
"This is a fantastic day for everyone involved with Toyota Motorsport, said Toyota team president John Howett. It was our first podium for a long time so we dedicate it to Ove Andersson, who did so much for the team and will be greatly missed.
"Congratulations to everyone involved both at the factory and in the race and test teams who have worked hard to improve the car. Of course we must now keep pushing really hard because our pace is still not matching the front-runners but we can be hugely satisfied with this result."
Although Glock eventually finished outside the points in 11th, Trullis haul of six extends Toyota's points' tally to 23 and bolsters their fifth-place in the championship standings. The team are now just one point adrift of fourth-placed Red Bull.