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Wurz storms ahead in opening practice 23 Sep 2005

Alex Wurz (AUT) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 23 September 2005

Just when Fernando Alonso had begun to set the pace at Interlagos this morning in a practice session that really became busy after its halfway point, McLaren pumped the fuel out of Alexander Wurz’s MP4-20 and the Austrian stormed round a second and a half faster than the Spaniard.

Wurz ended the day with 1m 11.701s, and in the final analysis it was Takuma Sato (now officially out of his BAR race drive for 2006) who finished runner-up with a lap of 1m 12.738s. It remains to be seen how much fuel he had aboard for that, or for team mate Jenson Button’s fourth best time of 1m 12.918s, while Alonso ended his morning third fastest after improving to 1m 12.782s in a Renault that boasts improved aerodynamics and a revised specification engine.

Behind that quartet Kimi Raikkonen was quite content to loaf round in 1m 13.065s and to edge out Giancarlo Fisichella’s 1m 12.094s lap, and then came Juan Pablo Montoya who also only dipped a toe in the water with 1m 13.256s.

Neither Antonio Pizzonia nor Mark Webber ran until the closing stages, then took their Williams FW27s round in 1m 13.427s and 1m 13.509s respectively to jump ahead of Toyota’s Friday tester Ricardo Zonta, who was fastest early on and worked down to an eventual 1m 13.57s to head team mate Ralf Schumacher on 1m 13.788s. Big brother Michael was 12th for Ferrari with 1m 14.154s, just ahead of team mate Rubens Barrichello on 1m 14.262s. Christian Klien ran quite late and finished 14th on 1m 14.468s for Red Bull, which left him ahead of team mates David Coulthard (16th on 1m 14.724s) and Tonio Liuzzi (17th on 1m 14.842s). Between Klien and Coulthard was Jarno Trulli, who came out late to lap his TF105 in 1m 14.504s.

Jacques Villeneuve was 18th for Sauber with 1m 15.211s, but team mate Felipe Massa did not record a time after running just a few installation laps.

At Jordan, Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro proved perfectly matched, each lapping in 1m 16.230s to share 19th/20th place. Nicolas Kiesa chased them, with 1m 16.351s in the third EJ15B. At the back Robert Doornbos was 22nd for Minardi with 1m 16.769s, team mate Christijan Albers lapping in 1m 17.180s.

Curiously, there was not a single real off-track incident all session.

The times will drop again this afternoon, but for comparison Barrichello was on pole here last year in 1m 10.646s.