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Ralf Schumacher to visit Bahrain this week 15 Dec 2003

Ralf Schumacher (GER) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, United States Grand Prix, Preparations, Indianapolis, USA, 25 September 2003

Williams' Ralf Schumacher will become the first Formula One driver to lap the new Bahrain International Circuit on Tuesday when he tries out the recently-laid track at the wheel of a BMW X5 road car.

Schumacher will have to wait until next April to sample the 5.410 km venue in his Williams FW26, but Tuesday's outing should at least give him an idea of what to expect at the inaugural Grand Prix of Bahrain next season.

"I think it is brilliant that Formula One is spreading its wings to different parts of the world," said Schumacher. "Everything I have heard leads me to believe that the Bahrain facilities will be fantastic when they are finished and this trip gives me an opportunity to assess progress for myself. I'm really looking forward to it."

Construction of the Bahraini circuit, located in Sakhir to the south of Bahraini capital Manama, is continuing around the clock and the first of its three layers of asphalt was completed earlier this month.

Once Schumacher has completed a few exploratory laps of the track he will travel to a nearby kart circuit to participate in a specially-arranged Pit Stop Challenge with media representatives, circuit officials and team sponsors.

For an exclusive, in-depth look at the Bahrain International Circuit with BAR driver Jenson Button, see the January 2004 edition of Formula 1 Magazine, on sale now.