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Private test session review 04 Jul 2003

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Magny-Cours, France, 4 July 2003

Rain marred the two-hour private testing session at Magny-Cours this morning, leaving Fernando Alonso as the fastest man when a deluge hit the track after an hour and a half.

The Renault driver's 1m 16.709s best thus became unbeatable, and left him ahead of Mark Webber (1m 17.107s), Jarno Trulli (1m 17.323s) and Antonio Pizzonia (1m 17.946s).

Given the intensity of the contest between tyre manufacturers Michelin and Bridgestone, the two hours assumed even greater importance as they accumulated data on the changeable track.

The Japanese company's fastest runner was Giancarlo Fisichella, who lapped his Jordan in 1m 18.771s to ease out Frenchman Franck Montagny. The latter was drafted in as replacement for this weekend only for regular Renault test driver Allan McNish, and set the pace early on thanks to his in-depth knowledge of the track. He ended the session on 1m 18.623s after a good performance.

Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson were seventh and eighth, on 1m 19.289s and 1m 19.636s respectively for Minardi. This left them ahead of Ralph Firman, who achieved 1m 20.259s before spinning off in the first sector. By the time his car was recovered, the rain had spoiled his chances of improving.