SPORT

Motor : Fisichella takes pole



The Renault driver knocks Honda's Jenson Button off the top spot towards the endSchumacher comes fourth

SEPANG (Malaysia): Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella took pole position with a flying late lap in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday. The Italian grabbed the third pole of his career in a time of one minute 33.840 seconds, knocking Honda's Jenson Button off the top spot as the seconds ticked away at the end of the session.

``I was confident I would be in the front two rows,'' said Fisichella. ``But then in the qualifying session the car was just fantastic.''

Button, still chasing his first win after 101 starts, was delighted to be on the front row. The Briton lapped in 1:33.986 just ahead of Williams rookie Nico Rosberg, who continued the impressive start to his Formula One career with the third fastest lap.

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher was next quickest for Ferrari but has replaced his engine and loses 10 places on the grid as a result.

Australian Mark Webber will therefore line up alongside Rosberg in an all-Williams second row with the McLarens of Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen behind.

Alonso, who won in Bahrain last weekend, will line up alongside Red Bull's Christian Klein.

Ralf Schumacher pulled over on the start-finish straight six minutes into the second session with his engine in flames to continue a miserable start to the season for Toyota.

David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello, Toyota driver Jarno Trulli, BMW's Jacques Villeneuve and Nick Heidfeld as well as Ferrari's Felipe Massa all went out of the reckoning in the second 15-minute session of the new qualifying format.

The results (driver, country, car, fastest lap time and leader's speed): 1. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1 minute 33.840 seconds, 212.647 kph (132.133 mph); 2. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:33.986; 3. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:34.626; 4. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 1:34.668; 5. Mark Webber, Williams, 1:34.672; 6. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:34.916; 7. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:34.983; 8. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:35.747; 9. Christian Klein, Red Bull, 1:38.715; 10. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, (not provided). Agencies