Johnny Herbert put up the best lap of the day as the latest Barcelona test drew to a close for most teams. Only Williams and Benetton, neither of which got sufficient track time, have indicated that they will remain in Spain over the weekend.


Herbert's best lap saw the Jaguar driver dip below the 1min 22sec mark for the first time in the test, and outpace McLaren's David Coulthard into the bargain. The English driver, having run his own Cosworth engine past its mileage limit, later borrowed the unit from team-mate Eddie Irvine's car to continue his test, and left designer Gary Anderson pleased with the results.


"Already we are more advanced than we were at this stage last year," the Irishman revealed, "and we have done a lot of running with the new chassis pre-season. The chassis itself has many difference from last year's car, and has undergone significant aerodynamic refinements."


Coulthard's running was severely limited by a bout of food poisoning, which left him just the morning to drive the updated MP4-14. despite this, he set the pace for much of the day, before being pipped by the flying Herbert.


Irvine and Alex Wurz (Benetton) duelled for the honour of being third fastest on the day, with the lanky Austrian finally snatching the place despite running in last year's unloved B199. Wurz continued the brake testing programme started by team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella on Thursday, allowing the Italian to get his first real taste of the new B200.


Irvine fell between the two blue cars as a result, clocking a best time of 1min 23.29secs despite spinning off the circuit on his own water after a pipe broke on the car. The R1 was sufficiently damaged to prevent any further running, allowing Herbert to use the remaining mileage on the engine after his own expired.


Fisichella brought up the rear in the new Benetton, but was significantly closer to the rest of the pack than had been possible earlier in the week.


"It was really exciting to finally get in the B200 today," he said, "especially after running in the B199 for the first two days of the test. My initial impression is that the engine seems very good, and I have a good feeling in the car. I'm looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow to learn more about it and, once we get the new wing package instead of the one from the B199, I think there will be a significant improvement."



Leading performances (21 January):


Johnny Herbert Jaguar-Cosworth 1min 21.87secs

David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes* 1min 22.13secs

Alex Wurz Benetton-Playlife* 1min 23.00secs

Eddie Irvine Jaguar-Cosworth 1min 23.29secs

Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife 1min 23.75secs

Jenson Button Williams-BMW* no time

Bruno Junqueira Williams-BMW* no time

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