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Imola Day Two - Schumacher ups the heat 26 Feb 2004

The Ferrari F2004. Ferrari F2004. Ferrari F2004. Ferrari F2004. Ferrari F2004.

Any notions that Ferrari may not be the force they were when Michael Schumacher shattered the unofficial lap record at Imola. The world champion, testing at the wheel of the new F2004, outpaced his McLaren and Williams rivals by more than a second.

Schumacher was continuing with

Any notions that Ferrari may not be the force they were this season were quickly dispelled on Wednesday when Michael Schumacher shattered the unofficial lap record at Imola. The world champion, testing at the wheel of the new F2004, outpaced his McLaren and Williams rivals by more than a second.

Schumacher was continuing with development work on the new car and, despite intermittent showers and temperatures of close to freezing, covered a total of 98 laps. The quickest of those was a 1m 19.664s, improving on his own lap record, set last year in an F2003-GA, by almost a second. The closest anyone else could get was a 1m 20.906, set by David Coulthard in the McLaren MP4-19.

Juan Pablo Montoya took over Williams’ programme in the FW26, the Colombian going third fastest after a total of 73 laps. He will continue work on Thursday to bring the BMW-powered squad’s final pre-season test to a close. Fourth slot went to Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian carrying out Bridgestone tyre tests in an F2003-GA, ahead of the Toyotas of team mates Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis.

Testing concludes at Imola on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Imola:
1. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:19.664
2. David Coulthard, McLaren (Michelin), 1:20.906
3. Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (Michelin), 1:21.044
4. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:21.235
5. Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:22.158
6. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:24.340