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Renault looking good in Saturday practice 02 Jul 2005

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, 2 July 2005

Giancarlo Fisichella gave Renault a boost by setting the fastest time in this morning's final practice sessions at Magny-Cours.

Earlier in the day, when the track was greasy and still damp in places, team mate Fernando Alonso and Fisichella had set the pace ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button.

It was dry by the time the second session started, and by the end the times had tumbled as Fisichella lapped in 1m 14.466s. It was a case of the track getting better with each lap, and the Italian timed his run perfectly. Right behind him, however, were Ralf Schumacher's Toyota on 1m 14.603s, Raikkonen's McLaren on 1m 14.649s, Alonso's Renault on 1m 14.742s and Michael Schumacher's Ferrari on 1m 14.979s.

Takuma Sato didn't quite manage to run with the aces but was sixth on 1m 15.177s as Rubens Barrichello, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli all shared virtually the same lap time, with 1m 15.218s, 1m 15.223s, 1m 15.228s and 1m 15.249s respectively. David Coulthard was close too on 1m 15.305s.

There was then a big gap to Williams, who were struggling as Mark Webber lapped in 1m 16.080s right at the end, then Christian Klien (1m 16.095s for Red Bull) and Jacques Villeneuve (1m 16.125s for Sauber). Nick Heidfeld also improved right at the end, but only to 1m 16.372s for 15th, and he was joined in disappointment by Felipe Massa on 1m 16.454s.

The Minardi drivers found their pace with Christijan Albers recording 1m 17.846s and Patrick Friesacher 1m 17.929s, which left the Jordans at the back. Narain Karthikeyan was 19th on 1m 18.195s from Tiago Monteiro on 1m 18.310s.

The track will get better this afternoon, though there is little sign of the expected 27 degrees Celsius air temperature (it is currently only 20 degrees), but the teams that did not race at Indianapolis (and especially those who had problems in Canada) could lose out further in the qualifying order this afternoon.