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Barcelona Day Four - Montoya moves ahead 06 Feb 2004

Juan Pablo Montoya in the new Williams FW26

This week's fourth day of testing at Barcelona saw Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya leading the way in the times from Renault's Fernando Alonso. Both men were still well down on the record pace set by BAR's Takuma Sato on Tuesday.

Montoya managed 51 trouble-free laps of the Circuit de Catalunya in the FW26, working principally on Michelin tyre evaluations. He was joined at Williams by Antonio Pizzonia and Nelson Piquet Jr. Pizzonia was third fastest, conducting systems checks on the FW26, while Piquet was sixth in the older FW25.

At Renault, Alonso conducted set-up work on the R24, working through a range of spring levels and different downforce levels during the day. Meanwhile, test driver Franck Montagny conducted set-up work with the R23, concentrating on ways of maximising the performance of the 2004 specification tyres.

"We had a satisfying final day of testing, which rounds off a very positive week's work," said Pat Symonds, Renault's Executive Director of Engineering. "We are achieving all our reliability targets with the R24 and while we can always look to make progress in terms of performance, we are nonetheless satisfied with the current situation. Franck put in plenty of miles with the R23, and is continuing to find useful developments with the old car."

Toyota had an eventful day thanks to Olivier Panis's high-speed accident in the afternoon (see earlier story). The Frenchman escaped serious injury after going off backwards into the barriers at Turn 3, but was nonetheless airlifted to hospital for precautionary checks. He ended the day eighth in the times, three places behind team mate Cristiano da Matta.

McLaren again found themselves well down the timesheets with the MP4-19. David Coulthard was seventh quickest after 51 laps, while Alexander Wurz was the slowest of the nine drivers present, the Austrian completing 65 laps.

Testing concludes at Barcelona on Friday. Elsewhere on Thursday, Michael Schumacher continued development of the F2004 at Imola, while Jordan were again at Silverstone with Nick Heidfeld in the new EJ14 and Timo Glock in the EJ13. The Jordan duo completed just over 100 laps between them, despite heavy rain and some minor reliability problems hindering their progress slightly.

Unofficial Thursday times from Barcelona:
1. Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (Michelin), 1:14.801
2. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.088
3. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:15.100
4. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.156
5. Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:15.718
6. Nelson Piquet Jr, Williams (Michelin), 1:15.815
7. David Coulthard, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.911
8. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:15.918
9. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.022