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Private test session review - Spain 02 May 2003

Allan McNish (GBR) Renault R23.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, 2 May 2003

Renault held sway for most of today's two-hour private practice session at the Circuit de Catalunya, with Jarno Trulli asserting himself over team-mate Fernando Alonso, the local hero. Scotsman Allan McNish backed them with third-fastest time for much of the session.

Trulli ended the session with a best lap of 1m 17.706s, well below Michael Schumacher's lap record of 1m 20.355s set during last year's race and confirmation of engineer Pat Symonds' expectation that the Renault R23 would prove aerodynamically very well suited to the circuit. It was a fine way to celebrate what will be his 100th Grand Prix start. Alonso's best was 1m 18.048s, McNish's 1m 18.625s.

It's been an interesting morning for Jaguar. Having narrowly pipped swift team-mate Mark Webber early on, Antonio Pizzonia put his R4 off the road briefly in Turn 1 (scene of his road car accident in a Jaguar S Type R during the winter). The Brazilian, whose performance is currently under the scrutiny of team bosses, went on to set the fourth quickest time of 1m 18.699s with five minutes to go, slipping ahead of Webber, who managed 1m 18.731s.

Ralph Firman has impressed this morning, for Jordan Ford. The Briton covered slightly more laps than his Brazilian Grand Prix-winning team-mate, Giancarlo Fisichella, and for most of the session had lapped slightly quicker in 1m 18.761s to the Italian's 1m 18.964s. Right at the end, however, Fisichella set second fastest time of 1m 17.991s.

Justin Wilson likewise showed his class by lapping his Minardi Ford in 1m 21.036s to outpace experienced team-mate Jos Verstappen. The Dutchman's best was 1m 21.294s. As reported earlier, Matteo Bobbi did not appear as the third driver for Paul Stoddart's team.