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Silverstone Day One - Sato first of four 24 Feb 2004

Takuma Sato (JPN) BAR Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 14 June 2003

BAR make positive start to four-day test

BAR, Renault and Jaguar were all in action at Silverstone on Monday as they began their final pre-season test. Japanese driver Takuma Sato topped the times at the wheel of the BAR 006.

For BAR it was the start of a four-day programme at the British circuit. Sato completed over 80 laps and ended the session less than a tenth of a second faster than the second placed Renault of Jarno Trulli.

Trulli ran 24 laps in the R24, carrying out a programme that consisted of running in two new gearboxes, and shaking down a new chassis for Melbourne. He also conducted systems checks. And in an R23 test driver Franck Montagny conducted front suspension geometry development and tyre compound work. The Frenchman completed 110 laps on his first visit to Silverstone with Renault.

"Jarno shook down the R24 and ran in the gearboxes over short 12 lap runs, with each performing as expected," reported Pat Symonds, Renault's Executive Director of Engineering. "The race drivers will conduct pit stop practice with the new car tomorrow. As for Franck, he made good progress with suspension development on the R23. Overall, this week will just be about checking everything is in order before leaving for Melbourne, and we are on track so far."

Completing Monday's line-up was Jaguar's newly-signed third driver Bjorn Wirdheim. The Swede was fourth fastest in the R5, less than a second slower than Montagny. Testing continues at Silverstone on Tuesday.

Unofficial Monday times from Silverstone:
1. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:19.540
2. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.640
3. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:20.256
4. Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:21.024

Also at work on Monday were Ferrari. The world champions were at Imola, where Rubens Barrichello covered a total of 98 laps in the F2004, with a best time of 1m 21.720. Michael Schumacher and several other teams are expected to join the Imola test on Tuesday.