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Leinders on course for Sepang 11 Mar 2004

Bas Leinders (BEL) Minardi Test Driver at the launch of the Minardi PS04B.
Australian Grand Prix Preparations, Rd 1, Albert Park, Australia, 3 March 2004

Belgian on his way to Malaysian Grand Prix debut

Minardi’s official test and reserve driver, Bas Leinders, successfully completed 315 kilometres in a Formula One car on Thursday, fulfilling the on-track requirements for the Superlicence he needs to become the team’s third driver in Friday practice sessions.

Leinders had been expected to run in an additional PS04B in Melbourne alongside race drivers Zsolt Baumgartner and Gianmaria Bruni. However, the Belgian was refused permission after it emerged he did not possess the necessary paperwork.

Now, after racking up the required mileage under observation at Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit, Leinder’s Superlicence application will proceed through the normal channels. Minardi’s intention is that he will run on Friday in Malaysia and at all subsequent rounds of the 2004 Formula One World Championship.

"I'm very pleased to have completed today's test, although the weather conditions were not so good," commented Leinders at the conclusion of Thursday's test. "There were heavy snowfalls all around the region, while here in Fiorano we ran on a wet track all day because of the rain.

“Apart from the polar temperatures, I had a trouble-free session and I feel pretty satisfied. Now I'm looking forward to travelling to Malaysia where I will officially start my job as a test driver to assist the Minardi Cosworth team in the development of the PS04B Minardi chassis."

Leinders is a former German Formula 3 Champion and in recent years has competed in the FIA International F3000 Championship. He finished third in the World Series by Nissan championship in 2002 and 2003 and tested for Jordan earlier this year before signing for Minardi in time for Australia.