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Force India at the tail of Aussie race grid

india Updated: Mar 28, 2009 14:58 IST

Force India's two cars will be looking just to finish the Australian Grand Prix after failing to reach the second stage of race qualifying in Melbourne on Saturday.

Italian veteran Giancarlo Fisichella finished 18th and German Adrian Sutil 19th to occupy jointly the back two rows on Sunday's race grid.

The Silverstone-based team made an unhappy season debut last year when it not only failed to win a single point, but Sutil completed just seven of the 18 races and Fisichella crashed out in seven.

"First of all we need to get to the end of the race -- that's the main goal and then we'll see," said Fisichella, lining up for his 213th GP race.

The Force team put on a brave face after Saturday's qualifying with chief engineer Dominic Harlow pointing to a tight session and just two-tenths of a second from reaching the second of the three-stage qualifying format.

"The drivers and engineers got close to getting the best they could from the car this weekend," Harlow said.

"We need a bit more development to really challenge, but given how our programme started late, we've made enormous progress already and we know that there is plenty in the pipeline."

Flamboyant Indian beer-to-airline tycoon Vijay Mallya spent the off-season attempting to revitalise Force India with new technical help, new personnel at the top and even a brand new livery.