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Testing update - Sato top at wet Jerez 09 Dec 2003

Takuma Sato (JPN) BAR Test Driver 
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 7 March 2003

BAR's Takuma Sato set the fastest time at Jerez on Monday after yet another day of wet-weather running at the Spanish circuit. At the wheel of the team's '04 'concept car', Sato was the only driver to dip below the 1m 26 barrier, as the rain that blighted last week's test continued.

Sato and BAR test driver Anthony Davidson (at the wheel of a 005) worked on tyres and development of the rear end for the team's 2004 car. However, the increasingly heavy rain forced them to curtail their programme in the afternoon and Sato even had a minor off in the tricky conditions, damaging his rear wing.

Felipe Massa made his return to Sauber - the team with which he made his Grand Prix debut back in 2002. And it was a positive start for the Brazilian who went second fastest after 36 laps.

"Today in the morning we adapted Felipe's seat and optimised its position before we could start our programme for today which focused on intermediate tyre tests," explained Jacky Eeckelaert, Sauber's Chief Race Engineer.

"Just at the time when we finished this it started to rain heavily. We actually intended to continue our schedule of the week and wanted to conduct some further evaluations but under these weather conditions it was simply impossible to go out again. But at least we were able to complete our programme of today so far.

"Felipe had a good return to the team today. He, of course, still knows the staff and the way we work, but also recognised that we made a big jump from the C21 to the C22 and its improvements. It felt as if he has never been away."

Luca Badoer was Ferrari's sole representative and the Italian recorded just 12 laps in the F2003-GA due to the adverse weather conditions. He finished the day around a quarter of a second down on Massa's Sauber.

Testing continues at Jerez on Tuesday, when Williams, McLaren, Renault, Jaguar and Toyota are all expected to join the session.

Unofficial Monday times from Jerez:
1. Takuma Sato, BAR, 1:25.931
2. Felipe Massa , Sauber, 1:26.273
3. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:26.300
4. Anthony Davidson, BAR, 1:26.738