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Montoya heads Michelin return at Jerez 23 Jun 2005

Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 19 May 2005

Six of the seven Michelin teams resumed testing on Wednesday at the start of a three-day session at Jerez in Spain. McLaren’s Juan Pablo Montoya topped the times and, as expected, no drivers reported any tyre problems.

Montoya completed 75 laps of performance testing in the MP4-20, including suspension development work, clocking a best of 1m 18.203s. Team mate Alexander Wurz, in an older MP4-19B (the other MP4-20s were still on their way back from the US), was fifth in the times, the Austrian concentrating on tyres for the forthcoming French, British and German Grands Prix.

With Ralf Schumacher still recuperating from his Indianapolis accident, Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis headed Toyota’s programme. Zonta finished second, little over a tenth off Montoya, while Panis, who will serve as the Japanese squad’s third driver in France, was ninth.

BAR had three drivers in action. Anthony Davidson was third fastest, carrying out an aero programme in the 007. Brazilian tester Enrique Bernoldi ran brake and suspension work in a second chassis in the morning, before handing it over to BAR driver development programme member Adam Carroll in the afternoon. The Irishman completed 27 laps in what was his first taste of the team’s latest car.

As news of their BMW takeover was being announced, Sauber had Jacques Villeneuve in the cockpit of the C24. The former champion was an impressive fourth in the time after running 61 laps - far less than many of the other drivers present.

"Today we focused on assessing several cooling options in preparation for forthcoming hot weather races, and today's high ambient and track temperatures helped us to get clear ideas,” explained Sauber test engineer, Paul Russell. “We also worked on the set-up of the car and evaluated together with Michelin the tyre compound for the French Grand Prix next week. Overall, it was a good and productive test day for us.”

The Renaults of Franck Montagny and Fernando Alonso were sixth and seventh fastest, ahead of the Red Bulls of Christian Klien and David Coulthard in eighth and tenth respectively. Persistent breezes meant Renault decided to concentrate on long-distance running.

“It was a difficult day owing to the windy conditions which made any truly representative work difficult,” said chief test engineer, Christian Silk. “We nevertheless completed a good number of laps, in spite of several stoppages, and will try and build on this tomorrow as we prepare for the race in Magny-Cours.”

Testing continues at Jerez on Thursday when Williams are expected to complete the Michelin contingent.

Elsewhere in Spain on Wednesday, Luca Badoer was again at the Wheel for Ferrari at Barcelona. Working on new aero components and Bridgestone tyres, Badoer ran 104 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya, with a best of 1m 16.617s. He will be joined by Michael Schumacher on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Jerez:
1. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.203
2. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.372
3. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:18.451
4. Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (Michelin), 1:18.666
5. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.687
6. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.741
7. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.207
8. Christian Klein, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:19.231
9. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:19.350
10. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:19.587
11. Enrique Bernoldi, BAR (Michelin), 1:19.778
12. Adam Carroll, BAR (Michelin), 1:22.435