M. Schumacher has Japanese GP pole

Oct. 12, 2002 at 9:37 AM
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SUZUKA, Japan, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Michael Schumacher, who has won 10 races this year, clocked 1:31.317 Saturday to take pole position for the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix and his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello, who has captured four, will start on the front row with him.

Schumacher will complete a season of consistency if he finishes third or better in Sunday's race. He will not only complete every lap of every race this season, he will also complete the season with a podium finish in every GP.

Entering the final race of the season, he has finished second five times and third once in addition to his 10 victories. When he was third at the Malaysian Grand Prix, he was involved in a first lap bump with Juan Pablo Montoya, had to go into the pits for a new front wing, restart from last and make up the ground.

"It had been a (special) year in all senses but let's see if I can get on the podium tomorrow first," Schumacher said. "To finish every race, to be on the podium, it is quite a thing and it shows the team's effort. The reliability doesn't come from nothing. It comes from some very serious work from all our engineers every day."

The Williams duo of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya had their worst team qualifying performance of the season placing fifth and sixth. Their worst previous effort was fourth and fifth in qualifying at the U.S. Grand Prix two weeks ago.

"It's a shame to start so far away on the grid," said Montoya, who had a string of five consecutive pole positions in the middle of the season. "Unfortunately today I have equaled my worst qualifying position this year which I set in Australia."

"We are not happy to see both of the McLarens in front of us but I am also sure that we will be able to make their life difficult in the race," said Ralf Schumacher, younger brother of Michael Schumacher.

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