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Da Matta tops testing in Jerez 13 Mar 2003

Cristiano Da Matta (BRA) Toyota TF103 
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 8 March 2003

Anxious to make up for the spin which ended his Grand Prix debut in Australia last weekend, Brazilian Cristiano da Matta flew from Melbourne to Jerez de la Frontera in Spain where yesterday he topped the times as Formula One teams tested prior to the Malaysian Grand Prix next week.

Da Matta covered 70 laps in his Toyota TF103 with a best time of 1m 19.651s, some way off the high 1m 17s times posted by Ralf Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen in Jerez's last test late in February.

Alexander Wurz was second fastest for McLaren Mercedes but covered only 34 laps for a best time of 1m 20.270s, while new test signing Pedro de la Rosa made a good start by lapping fourth fastest in the second MP4-17D, only three-tenths slower (1m 20.556s). After talks failed earlier this season, his place with the Woking team was massaged by manager Julian Jakobi, formerly Ayrton Senna's manager.

Sandwiched between them was Marc Gene in the BMW Williams FW25 (1m 20.362s and 69 laps), while sole Bridgestone runner Anthony Davidson concentrated on race work and engine development in his 81 laps for BAR Honda, setting a best time of 1m 21.503s.

Meanwhile, at Fiorano in Italy, Felipe Massa was back at the wheel of a Ferrari F2002, lapping the test track in 57.782s during the course of a 143-lap stint.