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Jerez day two - Montoya takes charge 15 Jul 2005

Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Montreal, Canada, 10 June 2005

British Grand Prix winner Juan Pablo Montoya moved emphatically to the top of the timesheets on Thursday as testing continued at Jerez. The McLaren star was over half a second quicker than his nearest rival, BAR’s Takuma Sato.

Montoya continued testing Michelin’s prime and option tyres for the forthcoming German and Hungarian Grands Prix, and also carried out more suspension development work on the MP4-20. Team mate Alexander Wurz, was fourth fastest, the Austrian focusing on long runs with the option tyre for Hockenheim.

Sato, who joined the test on Thursday, split his morning session between two chassis, performing shakedown and set-up work, as well as a bodywork evaluation programme. The Japanese driver then spent the afternoon testing tyres for the German Grand Prix. BAR team mate Jenson Button continued the aero evaluation he started on Wednesday, reporting a productive session in the 007. He ended the day seventh in the times.

Felipe Massa continued his strong test form for Sauber, finishing an impressive third fastest, despite crashing out of the session after less than 40 laps. The Brazilian was unhurt, but the car was too badly damaged to continue. It will be rebuilt in time for Friday’s session when Jacques Villeneuve is due to take over.

"Things went really well and we were trying to catch up the time we lost yesterday with the red-flag periods,” reported Sauber test engineer Paul Russell. “Then Felipe unfortunately experienced a rear left rim failure caused by a foreign object trapped inside the suspension components. He went off track at the entry of Turn 5 and damaged the car in such a way that it was not possible to go on with the test today. It's really a shame, but it's more important that Felipe is okay.”

At Renault, Franck Montagny was fifth quickest as he spent a productive morning working on tyre evaluation before being delayed by technical problems in the afternoon. Team mate Giancarlo Fisichella, the busiest man of the day, completed 137 laps of suspension development, set-up and tyre testing on his way to eighth.

“We had a very good day with Giancarlo, who achieved more than we had hoped this morning,” commented chief test engineer Christian Silk. “His work on suspension development brought us useful data, and he also looked at some set-up items for the coming races. Most of all, he was able to take full advantage of excellent reliability on his car.”

Wednesday’s pacesetter Ralf Schumacher was again the leading Toyota, this time in sixth place, three up on team mate Ricardo Zonta. Olivier Panis continued work with the team’s 2.4 litre engine, though the Frenchman managed to put barely a dozen laps on the 2006 V8 and finished bottom of the timesheets.

Williams also proceeded with work on BMW’s V8, the team reporting no problems as Antonio Pizzonia carried out systems checks on the new engine, though, like Panis, the Brazilian ran relatively few laps. Team mate Nick Heidfeld spent far more time on track as he continued to look for answers concerning the team’s Mk 2 bodywork on the FW27, after the problems in France and Britain. The German explored a number of options, including barge board modifications and a new front wing. As on Wednesday, both Williams drivers finished the day at the lower end of the timesheets.

There was no let up in the heat at Jerez, with track temperatures again hitting more than 50 degrees Celsius. The session concludes on Friday, the last day of testing before the unofficial, six-week summer testing ban kicks in.

Elsewhere on Thursday, Ferrari spent their third day this week at Paul Ricard, Marc Gene continuing Bridgestone tyre work in the F2005. Using a shorter track configuration, Gene put in 88 laps of the French circuit with a best of 1m 13.297s. The Spaniard hands over to Michael Schumacher on Friday.

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.289
2. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:16.748
3. Felipe Massa, Sauber (Michelin), 1:16.843
4. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.908
5. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.089
6. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Michelin), 1:17.130
7. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:17.522
8. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.649
9. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.201
10. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:18.219
11. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:18.595
12. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:18.798
13. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:21.812
14. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:23.782