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Alonso on pole in Montreal
June 25, 2006 01:25 IST
Formula One World champion Fernando Alonso seized pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday as Renault swept the front row for the second time this season.
The 24-year-old Spaniard will start from the top slot for the fifth consecutive race but the first time in Canada as he chases a fourth straight victory.
Italian team mate Giancarlo Fisichella, who led for almost half of last year's race before suffering an hydraulics failure, will line up alongside Alonso.
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, last year's winner, starts third but Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, Alonso's main championship rival 23 points behind in the standings, qualified a disappointing fifth.
"It was tough competition," Alonso told reporters after his 14th career pole position. "We have first and second, now we have to finish the job tomorrow.
"I think we have been really competitive in the first half of the season and in the ninth race to have both Renaults on the front row means the team is developing the car and working hard to win the championship again this year.
"I think these two races will be difficult for us," he added, referring to the US Grand Prix that follows Canada next weekend.
"We know that these are good circuits for Ferrari, high speed and low downforce, but in the first one we are doing our maximum."
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has not been kind to Alonso, who has failed to reach the finish in three of four career starts here. He crashed out in 2005, the last time he has failed to finish a race.
But the Spaniard had no problems on a sweltering day in Montreal, charging around the sun-kissed circuit in a time of one minute, 14.942 seconds.
Fisichella, four-times on the podium in Canada, was clocked at 1:15.178.
"No problems with the car, the car was straight away quick, so no problems for tomorrow," said Alonso.
Raikkonen will be joined on the second row by Toyota's Jarno Trulli, in confident mood despite having failed to score a point so far this season.
Seven times world champion Schumacher was joined on the third row by German rookie Nico Rosberg, who angered his Williams team mate Mark Webber by blocking him in the first session.
Schumacher, winner of two races this season after a dismal 2005, will become the first driver to win the same grand prix eight times if he triumphs on Sunday.
1. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault
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