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Force India thrilled by modest achievement

September 14, 2008 08:58 IST

Force India, without a point in their debut Formula One season, achieved a modest but noteworthy first on Saturday when they reached the second phase of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.

Giancarlo Fisichella will start his home race from 12th on the grid on Sunday after mastering the wet qualifying conditions better than world champion Kimi Raikkonen [Images] and championship leader Lewis Hamilton [Images], who were 14th and 15th respectively.

"We've been striving for this all year and finally, in some of the worst conditions this season, we have got it," Force India managing director Vijay Mallya [Images] said in a team statement.

"I have to say thank you to Giancarlo for driving a fantastic lap in the wet and cross my fingers that he can convert this into a strong result tomorrow," Mallya added after the Italian survived the first qualifying session cut.

Fisichella claimed a shock victory in a chaotic 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix when racing for Jordan, a previous incarnation of Force India, and now he is eyeing more success.

"Of course I was really pleased to be able to give the team its first entry into Q2 this year and particularly here at Monza," he said.

"I scored my first win in similar conditions in Brazil [Images] with this team, and although it is going to be difficult here, we can at least try for points."

Team mate Adrian Sutil will start from last on the grid.

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