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'Aussie win is out of reach'

Monday 12th March 2007

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Pat Symonds admits this year's Australian GP victory is out of reach for Renault's two drivers.

Although Renault won the Melbourne event the past two years running, the Anglo/French squad concedes that they are not in a position to claim a third successive victory.

They have struggled for pace in pre-season testing, with Giancarlo Fisichella recently revealing that their new car, the R27, is as much as half a second off the pace of the Ferraris and McLarens.

And it's because of their lack of pace that Symonds admits Renault are unlikely to win this Sunday's race.

"I think we are being realistic about our performance at the moment. We know we are not in the same position as we were twelve months ago," Symonds said.

"But we were encouraged by the results of our final pre-season test in Bahrain. There are still areas to work on in order to improve the car, and we know what we have to do.

"We expect 2007 to be a tough battle - but we are ready for the fight."

However, for the Melbourne race, Fisichella says Renault will most likely be fighting for a podium finish, and not the race victory.

"If we cannot fight for the win, I will be trying to out-score my rivals, and finish on the podium if it is possible," the Roman said.

He added: "I want to score as many points as possible in the early races of the year."

Renault's second driver this year with Finnish rookie Heikki Kovalainen, who is hoping for a fault-less start to his F1 career and maybe even a few points.

"I am expecting a tough race. I am preparing for every possibility, and I know that I will have to push right to the limit," he said.

"With the team, we will have to find the perfect set-up for the R27 to get maximum potential out of the car.

"From a personal point of view, I want to get to the finish without any problems and finish in the points. I think that would be a good start."

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