Atlas F1 News Service

Marques Pleased to be on the Grid

Saturday March 3rd, 2001

After suffering a number of different problems throughout Saturday's qualifying, Tarso Marques was relieved race stewards have allowed his European Minardi into the Australian Grand Prix.

The Brazilian failed to set a time within the 107 per cent of pole position, which is required to make it onto the grid. But he will now start 22nd after he was given permission to compete.

The team said that exceptional circumstances were the cause of Marques' failure to qualify, and the driver was delighted when their appeal to the stewards was successful.

"I am very pleased the stewards have decided to let me race tomorrow," said Marques. "It has been a difficult day, but at least I'm in the race."

Brazilian Marques said that his car had been "nervous on the brakes" throughout the day and his qualifying session ended when he spun into the gravel.

He took over his team-mate Fernando Alonso's car late in the session and despite the discomfort of the set-up of the car, he managed to better his previous lap, but was still outside the required time.

"I improved my time by nearly seven-tenths of a second," said Marques. "But it was pretty uncomfortable. Despite the fact the mechanics had fitted my seat, I am taller than Fernando and the pedals were different."

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