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Minardi pleased with PS04B track debut 11 Feb 2004

Paul Stoddart (AUS) Minardi Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Canadian Grand Prix, Race Day, Montreal, Canada, 15 June 2003

Minardi gave their 2004 Formula One challenger its first run on Monday at the Misano circuit in Italy. Zsolt Baumgartner completed 64 laps in the PS04B, an evolution of last year's PS03, and the team came away with positive first impressions.

In cool, sunny conditions, Baumgartner recorded a best lap of 1m 11.080s, a 2.5 second improvement on the fastest time set by the team on the last occasion they visited the track back in early 2002 with Mark Webber.

"It has been a good day of testing," reported Baumgartner. "I thought I might improve on my best morning time during the afternoon session, but it was not to be the case. I'm happy with the behaviour of the new car - it is more 'progressive' in its driving characteristics than the PS03 I drove in Valencia last month - and I'm also pleased to be feeling increasingly comfortable with both the driving and the team personnel."

The Hungarian driver worked through the team's entire scheduled programme of aerodynamic and tyre evaluation, helping them to accrue a significant amount of data and leaving boss Paul Stoddart delighted with the new car's first outing.

"We take a lot of heart from today's performance and from that lap time," said the Australian. "Zsolt did an excellent job, completing 64 trouble-free laps. It is also noteworthy that today's times were set on an engine that had run for nearly 700 kms, giving us great faith that Cosworth has provided the team with a reliable, powerful engine that will be more than capable of coping with the new, 'long-distance' requirements specified by this year's F1 rules. We were also very pleased with the performance of the Bridgestone tyres today, which undoubtedly contributed to Zsolt's excellent lap times."

Baumgartner hands over to 2004 team mate Gianmaria Bruni for a second and final day of testing at Misano on Wednesday.