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Barrichello takes US pole

Alan Baldwin | June 20, 2004 01:37 IST

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello swept out of Michael Schumacher's shadow at the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis on Saturday to seize his first pole position of the season.

World champion Schumacher, gunning for his eighth victory in nine races on Sunday after winning in Canada last weekend, had to settle for second best in an all-Ferrari front row.

The German was 0.177 seconds slower than Barrichello's lap of one minute 10.223 seconds on a sunny afternoon at 'The Brickyard'.

It was the 10th pole position of Barrichello's Formula One career and his first since Japan last October, when he also celebrated his last victory.

Japan's Takuma Sato and his BAR team mate Jenson Button filled the second row ahead of the two Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher, fighting back after being disqualified in Canada.

"It feels nice to be here...there's loads of Brazilians out there and I had a positive run just going out and it was nice, I could almost hear them shouting," said Barrichello.

"It was just an easy lap, trying not to make any mistake on the limit and finally my first pole of the season."

BETTER JOB

Schumacher, still five poles off the late Brazilian Ayrton Senna's all-time record of 65, congratulated his long-suffering team mate who had been consistently faster than him in Friday's free practice.

"I'm pleased. We're both on the front row. Naturally I would have preferred the other position but Rubens did a better job so that's where we are," he said.

"I struggled in the mid-sector, had to fight far too much oversteer in there and I lost reasonable time and there was obviously the doubt that I would keep that position.

"Actually, I was expecting to drop further back," added the double winner at Indianapolis.

BAR confirmed their status as Ferrari's main challengers with their best combined qualifying performance so far after Button's pole in San Marino and Sato's front row start at the Nuerburgring last month.

Although team boss David Richards is adamant that Ferrari remain in a league of their own, Sato was confident that BAR could get closer than ever to the red cars.

"To win a Grand Prix you need everything but trying to beat Ferrari is very, very difficult," he said. "But that's our aim and objective so we will try. We're hoping that we can catch them up."

Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, who was on pole for McLaren last year at Indianapolis, was seventh fastest and lines up next to Toyota's French veteran Olivier Panis, starting the 150th Grand Prix of his career.

Renault's Fernando Alonso and Jaguar's Mark Webber fill the fifth row.

There was disappointment for Alonso's Italian team mate Jarno Trulli, the only man to beat Schumacher this season with a stirring victory in Monaco, who failed to set a time after having to be pushed out of the pit lane by mechanics.

Trulli, who retired seconds into the race in Canada, will start at the back of the grid.

Provisional grid for the US Formula One Grand Prix:
1. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Ferrari 1:10.223
2. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari 1:10.400
3. Takuma Sato (Japan) BAR 1:10.601
4. Jenson Button (Britain) BAR 1:10.820
5. Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia) Williams 1:11.062
6. Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Williams 1:11.106
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) McLaren 1:11.137
8. Olivier Panis (France) Toyota 1:11.167
9. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault 1:11.185
10. Mark Webber (Australia) Jaguar 1:11.286
11. Cristiano Da Matta (Brazil) Toyota 1:11.691
12. David Coulthard (Britain) McLaren 1:12.026
13. Christian Klien (Austria) Jaguar 1:12.170
14. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Sauber 1:12.470
15. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Sauber 1:12.721
16. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) Jordan 1:13.147
17. Giorgio Pantano (Italy) Jordan 1:13.375
18. Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) Minardi 1:14.010
19. Zsolt Baumgartner (Hungary) Minardi 1:14.812
20. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Renault no time


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