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Toyota springs a surprise 05 Apr 2003

Olivier Panis (FRA) Toyota TF103.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos, Brazil, 5 April 2003

For a while it was business as usual as dry weather returned to Interlagos and Michael Schumacher headed the times for Ferrari. But then close to the end of the morning's two free practice sessions Olivier Panis slipped in a best of 1m 13.457s to put Toyota at the top of the timing table for the first time.

"We improved the car a lot considering that we didn't do any dry running yesterday," the Frenchman said. "We have a good direction, but now we must wait to see what happens in qualifying."

Schumacher and Barrichello are both pleased after set-up changes on the Ferraris, which were running the rear wing from the new F2003-GA. Schumacher said: "I'm happy with the tyres, and can do consistent times."

The McLaren drivers ended up fourth (Coulthard) and sixth (Raikkonen), both satisfied with their progress. At BMW Williams, however, Montoya was plagued by understeer until he tried different tyre pressures, which helped, but Ralf Schumacher spun three times before a set-up change improved his car. They were fifth and ninth respectively.

Jarno Trulli was second for Renault, expressing great pleasure in his car's behaviour, while Mark Webber made good on his predictions yesterday of remaining in the top 10 for Jaguar.

Conditions for qualifying are expected to remain dry.