Testing update: dead heat at Paul Ricard 23 May 2003
There was nothing to separate Juan Pablo Montoya and David Coulthard in the times on Thursday as testing continued at the Paul Ricard circuit. Both drivers set a best lap of 1m 10.815s around the French track as the teams furthered their preparations for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest (1m 11.435s) in a second McLaren MP4-17. Meanwhile, the team's test driver, Alexander Wurz, managed only ten laps in the new MP4-18 to set the seventh-quickest time of the day (1m 14.620s).
Marc Gene was fourth in the timesheets for Williams (1m 12.082s), ahead of the Toyota of Cristiano da Matta (1m 12.320s) and the Renault of Allan McNish (1m 12.427).
It was Renault's final day of testing this week and the team completed their programme with McNish working with Michelin on tyres for Monaco, as well as some aerodynamic development.
"Overall, we completed significant mileage during this test session with some very useful results," reported Renault's technical director, Mike Gascoyne. "We are feeling confident and now look forward to the next race in Monte-Carlo."
At Valencia in Spain BAR and Sauber continued testing, with Jenson Button setting the pace (1m 11.719s), ahead of Nick Heidfeld (1m 11.885s) and Jacques Villeneuve (1m 12.254s).
Sauber used the session to try out several new parts, including a new start system, which the team intend to use at Monaco. Along with BAR, they will conduct a wet-track test at Valencia on Friday.
Finally, Michael Schumacher continued Ferrari's testing at Fiorano in Italy. The day's focus was a Bridgestone tyre-development programme and set-up evaluation for the Monaco Grand Prix. Schumacher completed 142 laps (including 10 on the short course), with a best time of 56.591s.
All times are unofficial.