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Barrichello ready to end jinx

Alan Baldwin | October 24, 2004 14:46 IST

Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello aims to shake off a decade-long jinx after seizing pole position at his home Brazilian Grand Prix for the second year in a row on Saturday.

Barrichello has failed to finish his last nine races at Interlagos but he fired up the crowd by beating Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya to the top slot.

His success on a sunny afternoon contrasted with the plight of team mate Michael Schumacher, the seven times world champion who wrecked his car in practice and starts the season-ending race in 18th place.

The German, who has won 13 of the 17 races this year and secured his crown in August, was eighth fastest in the spare car but the change of engine cost him 10 places on the starting grid.

Barrichello, celebrating his fourth pole of the season and 13th of his career, will be joined on the front row by Montoya in his last race for Williams.

No Brazilian driver has scored a point at the Sao Paulo circuit since three times champion Ayrton Senna was killed at Imola in 1994.

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But Barrichello, who had led last year's chaotic rain-hit race until he ran out of fuel, was confident despite the weight of expectation on him.

"As I went across the line and saw I was on pole my legs were very numb because it was immense pressure, absolutely," he said. "If you make a mistake, they'll probably come down out of the grandstand and kill you here.

"It's a good pressure, a good energy all around," he added. "We have a very good car and I'm very serene. It's a good chance of winning the race tomorrow."

RAIKKONEN THIRD

Barrichello lapped in one minute 10.646 seconds, three seconds quicker than last year, after dominating practice on Friday and Saturday morning.

McLaren's Finn Kimi Raikkonen, third fastest, and Sauber's Brazilian Felipe Massa filled the second row with BAR's Briton Jenson Button and Japan's Takuma Sato behind them.

Schumacher's 18th place start marked a career low -- after 17th in China last month -- but Sunday's race is unimportant in the grand scheme of things with the constructors' championship also won in August.

"It was a big impact and luckily Michael was okay but he had to take his T-car (spare)...I still think Michael's going to have a really good race tomorrow," said Barrichello.

Montoya was delighted to equal his best grid position of the season and also hopeful of handing Williams their first win of the year before he leaves.

"It's the last race for me at Williams and I really want to thank everybody back at the factory for doing a great job for me in the last four years," he said.

"It's going to be exciting. Hopefully I can get a good start and keep up with him (Barrichello). It would be nice to finish on a high note here," said the Colombian.

Germany's Ralf Schumacher, also in his last race for Williams, was seventh quickest and starts next to Spain's Fernando Alonso in a Renault.

There was little joy for Jaguar, who are leaving Formula One after Sunday, with Australian Mark Webber 11th and Austrian Christian Klien 15th.


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