Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia did his chances of landing a race seat in 2003 no harm at all by taking top spot on the final day of the final multi-team test of the season.

The Brazilian, who has moved into line for a possible Jaguar drive next year, jumped to the top of the timesheets on only his second day of running at Barcelona, lapping a couple of tenths faster than previous pacesetter Alex Wurz as he worked through a tyre development programme for supplier Michelin. Pizzonia, also buoyed by the news that he was allowed to keep his podium finish from the final F3000 race of the year in spite of a protest from the Coloni team, started the day by running through scheduled tests on components destined for the Japanese Grand Prix next weekend.

He was joined once more by Marc Gene, who lapped fourth fastest with BMW's development engine.

McLaren was also present with a development vehicle, which Wurz and team-mate David Coulthard shared to good effect in splitting the two Williams runners. Wurz focused on component development, while Coulthard ran through a tyre programme to help dictate choice for the Suzuka race.

Behind the top four, the two Toyotas of test pairing Stephane Sarrazin and Ryan Briscoe completed a useful day's work, finishing ahead of the sole BAR of Anthony Davidson.

Sarrazin completed his third day of running, working through a development programme with the intermediary TF102B, while Briscoe worked on an extensive data acquisition programme with the regular TF102 race car ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix. The Australian concentrated, in particular, on aero developments for Suzuka, including a new front wing and undertray, before switching to a Michelin tyre programme after lunch. Hydraulic problems cost him a small amount of track time, but the day was otherwise productive.

Davidson was the last driver to record a time, running through a reliability programme to ensure both 004 and Honda V10 were in the best shape for the engine giant's home race. A small mechanical problem caused the young Briton - still chasing a race seat for 2003 - off the road, but the day proved largely productive.

This was the last scheduled day of group testing until after the self-imposed ban that follows Suzuka, although Williams will stay on at the Circuit de Catalunya to continue a closed doors session until Saturday.

Leading performances (3 October):

Antonio Pizzonia Williams-BMW 1min 16.960secs 60 lapsAlex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1min 17.129secs 89 lapsDavid Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1min 17.143secs 103 laps Marc Gen? Williams-BMW 1min 17.789secs 50 lapsStephane Sarrazin Toyota-Toyota 1min 18.416secs 71 lapsRyan Briscoe Toyota-Toyota 1min 18.698secs 92 lapsAnthony Davidson BAR-Honda 1min 19.931secs 69 laps

[all drivers on Michelin tyres, except Davidson]

 

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