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Jerez Day Three - Pizzonia to the fore 16 Jul 2004

Antonio Pizzonia (BRA) Williams BMW FW26. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, 27 April 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton

Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia took over at the top of the Jerez timesheets on Thursday, as the Brazilian made his case to be given a chance to replace the injured Ralf Schumacher at the forthcoming German Grand Prix.

Both Pizzonia and Williams colleague Marc Gene worked on set-up and tyres in preparation for the Hockenheim race, in what is the last test session before the six-week summer ban begins. Gene’s best time was just over a second down on Pizzonia’s, earning the Spaniard eighth spot in the times.

As on Wednesday, Jenson Button was second fastest for BAR. Both he and team mate Takuma Sato, sixth quickest around the Spanish circuit, experienced gearbox problems on the Honda-powered 006, while test driver Anthony Davidson failed to record a time.

At Ferrari, Michael Schumacher took over the wheel of the F2004 from Rubens Barrichello. The world champion was third fastest after 69 laps of set-up, tyre and new component testing, outpacing the leading Toyota of Ricardo Zonta. In the second of the Japanese squad’s cars, Oliver Panis was 10th on his first appearance of the week at Jerez.

Fernando Alonso joined test driver Franck Montagny at Renault, the pair going fifth and seventh fastest respectively after completing 230 laps between them during the day. Both men focussed on tyres, plus engine evolutions ahead of the Hockenheim race.

"Both Fernando and Franck were happy with the car today, and ran competitively during the day,” reported Christian Silk, Renault’s Chief Test Engineer. “We obtained clear answers on the tyre programme, and also conducted promising engine development work.

"Our test will conclude tomorrow, with Heikki (Kovalainen) once again taking the wheel of chassis 06, while Franck conducts development work on aerodynamic parts destined for the German Grand Prix."

The McLarens of Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz, in ninth and 13th, and the Jaguars of Christian Klien and Mark Webber, in 11th and 12th, completed the order at Jerez, where conditions were again fine and clear, with track temperatures once more exceeding 55 degrees Celsius. Testing is due to conclude at the venue on Friday.

Elsewhere, Ferrari also continued their work at Monza, with test driver Luca Badoer carrying out a tyre test programme. The Italian completed a total of 70 laps with a best time of 1m 22.040s.

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:17.388
2. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:17.433
3. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:17.890
4. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.213
5. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.283
6. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:18.379
7. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.427
8. Marc Gene, Williams (Michelin), 1:18.454
9. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.544
10. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.669
11. Christian Klien, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:18.688
12. Mark Webber, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:18.764
13. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.962