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MAY 1, 2001

Dupasquier saw potential for victory number two

PIERRE DUPASQUIER, motorsport director of Michelin tires, believes Ralf Schumacher could have been on for a second victory for Williams had he not spun off into the gravel early in the Spanish Grand Prix.

A slowing Schumacher was chased home by the other Michelin-shod Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya but he stayed ahead to claim victory by almost 40 seconds.

And Dupasquier says San Marino race winner Schumacher, who started fifth in Spain, could have been in a better position to attack the ailing Ferrari.

"We can't help thinking that Ralf Schumacher might have been able to challenge for victory if he hadn't gone off the track," said Dupasquier.

"With the problems that Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher had towards the end of the race, he could have been well placed to profit."

"This was a satisfying result for us," he continued. "We were very pleased with the performance of the harder of our two tires in terms of both speed and durability, and the softer compound stood up even better than we had predicted."

"The proof is in the remarkable lap times achieved by the cars that used it," he said of the softer compound used by Eddie Irvine in the race.

"Even if most of our partners took the more cautious option and ran our harder rubber, the good news is that the performance difference between the two was relatively small."

Dupasquier revealed that there is now just one area that he believes must be looked at before Michelin can feel fully proficient in their overall range.

"In the short term, our target will be to improve the performance of our rain tires to make sure that we are competitive in every kind of racing situation."