The DHL Jordan Honda team enjoyed an encouraging start to the weekend in San Marino, with Giancarlo Fisichella finishing Friday's free practice session in third place behind the two Ferraris, and team-mate Takuma Sato, running at Imola for the first time, finishing a solid eleventh overall.

Both drivers felt happy with the EJ12's balance in atrocious conditions, with Fisichella predicting a top six qualifying result tomorrow if the rain persists.

"I am pleased with how the free practice went today and, clearly, the wet and cold conditions here in Imola suit our package well and we are, therefore, more competitive," he said, "The conditions on the track were very difficult but I don't mind driving in the wet at all and would be happy if it stayed wet for qualifying. If it does I believe we can qualify in the top six."

Sato made use of the empty track provided by the conditions - as many of his rivals decided to stay under cover during the worst of the rain - to gain valuable experience of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. In the process, he enlivened the soggy Imola crowd with some exuberant laps, which helped underline his sublime car control.

"I felt very comfortable with the car in the full wet conditions first thing this morning but, as the track dried out, I found things a lot more difficult as it was hard to get traction and braking stability," he said, "The balance improved when we changed tyres towards the end of the session and I think that, once we have worked with the data, we will find a good set up for tomorrow."

The team was happy with the performance of both drivers, even though both had more than their fair share of spins in the treacherous conditions. A continuation of the weather would not be welcomed by most teams, but Jordan is among those who will be raindancing tonight [Friday].

"I am satisfied with how the sessions went today and I think our standings reflect the fact that our package is more competitive in cold and wet conditions," said director of race and test engineering Gary Anderson.

"I would like to see the same conditions for tomorrow's qualifying, when we will be running with a new specification Honda engine, and then a dry race on Sunday."