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Jerez Day Three - Montagny on top 15 Oct 2004

Franck Montagny (FRA) Renault R24. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, 28 April 2004. World © Capilitan/Sutton Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota TF104B leaves the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai, China, 25 September 2004 Alex Wurz (AUT) West McLaren Mercedes MP4/19B. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 28-30 September 2004. World © Capilitan/Sutton Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, 11 September 2004 Bjorn Wirdheim (SWE) Jaguar Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, 24 September 2004

Renault’s Franck Montagny ended the team’s pre-Brazil test programme on a high on Thursday by setting the fastest time of the week at Jerez, as 2004 season testing drew to a close.

Montagny’s best, a 1m 16.298s, was around two tenths faster than that of Tuesday and Wednesday pacesetter, Williams’ Antonio Pizzonia, as he focused on set-up work and software development. Also testing for Renault was Fernando Alonso, taking over from team mate Jacques Villeneuve. The Spaniard was fifth fastest, over a second behind Montagny, as he evaluated suspension developments scheduled for introduction in Brazil.

At Williams, Pizzonia, completed the team’s preparations for the coming Interlagos race. As the BMW-powered squad’s sole representative for the three-day session, the Brazilian put in a total of 288 laps of the Spanish circuit.

“Despite encountering a technical problem today which ended our test programme prematurely, we still enjoyed a productive three days on the track,” explained Tim Newton, Williams’ test team manager.

“Throughout the test, the team concentrated on extensive brake work and systems checks. We also carried out set-up work on the FW26 in preparation for Brazil as well as performing tyre evaluations with Michelin. Antonio did a great job for the team and suffered no problems following the ankle injury he sustained while in China."

Toyota’s Ricardo Zonta, another man to have driven all three days, was third in the timesheets. "On the first day, I worked on steering columns and electronics,” reported the Brazilian. “We did some back-to-back runs to see if we could find some improvements and learn something for next season.

“On Wednesday I worked on tyres, both for 2005 and the two choices for next week's Brazilian Grand Prix. We had a very good day and everything we did took us a step forward. On Thursday we did more work on tyres along with some electronics and set-up. It was also good to get used to working with Remi Decorzent, who will be my race engineer at Interlagos.”

Zonta was joined at Toyota by test driver Ryan Briscoe. "I spent Thursday morning working on brake ducts and wing effects,” he explained, after finishing seventh. “It went pretty well and we made it through the programme quite nicely, although we had an engine problem just before lunch so we had to stop to get it fixed. In the afternoon I did some work on new tyre constructions for 2005, which was interesting."

McLaren again had Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa in action, the Austrian fourth in the times, the Spaniard sixth, the pair putting in another 210 laps of development work between them.

Anthony Davidson took over from Enrique Bernoldi as BAR’s lone runner, the Brit finishing eighth in the times ahead of Jaguar’s Bjorn Wirdheim. Davidson spent the majority of the day doing long runs to evaluate tyres. He also ran through a brake evaluation test, front suspension work and a Honda engine development programme.

This week’s Jerez test was the last of the 2004 season. Preparations for 2005 will begin in earnest at the end of November after a month’s break from testing.

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:16.298
2. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:16.554
3. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:16.995
4. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.481
5. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.536
6. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.538
7. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.032
8. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:18.828
9. Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:19.335