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McLaren, Toyota kick off testing 24 Mar 2004

(L to R): Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Test Driver and Alex Wurz (AUT) McLaren Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, Germany, 1 August 2003

Wurz fastest on day one of four at French circuit

This week’s multi-team test at Paul Ricard got underway on Tuesday, with McLaren and Toyota in action at the French track, beginning their preparations for the Grand Prix of Bahrain on April 4.

McLaren had both their full-time testers at the wheel of the MP4-19 and it was Austrian Alexander Wurz who topped the time sheets after completing 100 laps, the most of any driver present. Spanish team mate Pedro de la Rosa put in 39 laps and was just three hundredths of a second slower than Wurz.

Toyota also had two testers on track as the Japanese squad continued development work on their TF104 machine. Brazilian driver Ricardo Zonta was third quickest after 90 laps, just over a second down on Wurz’s pace. Australian Ryan Briscoe was a further second and a half adrift after completing just a dozen laps.

Testing continues at Paul Ricard until Friday. On Wednesday, McLaren and Toyota are expected to be joined by Renault, BAR and Williams.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Ferrari were at Mugello, with test driver Luca Badoer working on a tyre test programme and development of the F2004. Intermittent rain meant a damp track throughout the day and the Italian completed 68 laps, including 11 on the short layout, with a best time of 1m 24.530s. He continues work at the Italian circuit on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:12.825
2. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:12. 856
3. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:14.002
4. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota (Michelin), 1:16.591