Fernando Alonso may want to return to a championship-challenging team for 2009, but the feisty Spaniard, renowned for his competitiveness, will be keen to help Renault defeat rivals Toyota in their own battle this year, and is well placed to do so after a sterling qualifying effort in Spa-Francorchamps.
Renault are currently fifth in the constructors’ championship, ten points adrift of Toyota. But with Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock both starting from outside the top ten, Alonso, who starts in sixth place, is well poised to score crucial world championship points for the team.
“So that means that we have done a solid job today. We now have a real chance to get a strong result tomorrow, which is important for the championship. I’m quite confident.”
“I am satisfied. We know that in normal conditions it’s very difficult to finish in the top four and that to finish in fifth or sixth place is a good result.”
Nelson Piquet starts from twelfth place after struggling with the balance of his R28. But crucially he lines up in between the Toyota drivers which could enable him to intervene in their race.
Renault’s Pat Symonds admit the team are well placed to score points in Sunday’s race: “Our optimism from yesterday was fulfilled in qualifying with a very competitive session from Fernando.”
“Nelson also looked strong, but he missed reaching the final part of qualifying by a very small margin. Spa normally produces good race and we look forward to it tomorrow.”
Denis Chevrier, Renault’s Head of Engine Track Operations added: “Once again, we saw that qualifying is challenging. The first four places are still out of reach, but the sixth place for Fernando is a reason to be satisfied because it means we can hope to score some points tomorrow.”
“Of course, we must not make any mistakes and look after our tyres because all the teams are close here, but I think it will be an interesting race on a circuit that is challenging for the cars and the drivers.”
“Nelson must get ready for a difficult race, but we will do everything to help him progress in the race.”