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Testing update - Montagny back on top 05 Dec 2003

Franck Montagny (FRA) Renault Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Preparations, Magny-Cours, France, 3 July 2003

Renault test driver Franck Montagny returned to the top of the Barcelona timesheets on Thursday, outpacing the McLaren MP4-17D of Alexander Wurz and David Coulthard's MP4-19.

A damp track in the morning allowed Montagny to do wet-weather work, before switching to suspension development and dry-tyre testing when conditions improved. Renault Driver Development Programme member Heikki Kovalainen was also again on track for the team, going seventh fastest.

Pat Symonds, Renault's Executive Director of Engineering, summarised their week, saying: "A very productive week during which, in spite of difficult weather, we conducted useful running in all conditions. Both Heikki and J-Lo (Jose-Maria Lopez) did a very good job with their first Formula One experience: they built up speed slowly, and adopted a very mature approach. We were very impressed with both of them."

Toyota test drivers Ricardo Zonta and Ryan Briscoe were fourth and fifth as the Japanese team finished their week's work, using the 2003-spec TF103 as well as the hybrid TF103B car.

"On the first and second day, I drove the new TF103B car, which had run for the first time last week in Paul Ricard," said Zonta. "Besides working further on reliability checks, we also worked on some of the control systems development and I had to get used to playing with all fingers and thumbs on the steering wheel again, which I quickly adapted to.

"Today, I switched back to this year's race car, in which I covered a lot of laps in varied track and weather conditions, and we managed some good work on 2004 developments. It was a good test for me, with a good team atmosphere and it was nice to have the visit of Mike Gascoyne showing great motivation towards the drivers and the team."

Jaguar were the final team present at Barcelona and for the first time Mark Webber found himself outgunned by his new team mate Christian Klien.

Unofficial Thursday times from Barcelona:
1. Franck Montagny, Renault, 1:16.296
2. Alexander Wurz, McLaren, 1:16.423
3. David Coulthard, McLaren, 1:16.830
4. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota, 1:16.898
5. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota, 1:17.289
6. Christian Klien, Jaguar, 1:17.408
7. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:17.822
8. Mark Webber, Jaguar, 1:17.984