McLaren-Mercedes third driver Alexander Wurz set the quickest time today [Wednesday] at Valencia, beating Ferrari's Michael Schumacher by five tenths of a second.

Wurz completed 68 laps and set a best time of 1 minute 11.104 seconds.

He was joined by fellow McLaren driver, David Coulthard, who posted the third fastest time, around four hundredth's slower than the five time F1 World Champion.

Michael took over from veteran Scuderia test driver, Luca Badoer today and along with team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who was fourth, notched up nearly 200 odd laps between them. With three F2002's at their disposal, both continued with yesterday's programme - testing tyres and electronics.

Giancarlo Fisichella was again 'best of the rest', fifth quickest overall behind the 'big boys'. The Jordan driver had another useful day in the Ford powered EJ13, and despite a mechanical problem, which caused the car to stop on the track, he completed 63 laps.

"We accomplished all we could today, really, with a couple of minor problems costing us a small amount of time and then the very windy weather making it difficult to get good data," commented Jordan's Director of Race and Test Engineering, Gary Anderson, "At this stage it's all about adding mileage though so I'm pleased we were able to do plenty of laps."

Sixth was B.A.R-Honda's Jacques Villeneuve, the Canadian was only one hundredth slower than Fisi and around half a second up on his team-mate, Jenson Button, who was tenth fastest on a 1m 12.926s.

Olivier Panis was seventh in the new Toyota TF103, the Frenchman spent the day concentrating on an in-depth mechanical parts evaluation programme and this limited his running to 47 laps.

Jaguar's Mark Webber was eighth and then came the Sauber of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Both Frentzen and team-mate, Nick Heidfeld ran in the new Sauber-Petronas C22 today, Nick around two tenths slower.

Jacky Eeckelaert - Head of Vehicle Engineering at Sauber - commented: "We are pleased with the weather conditions. They have been pretty good here. It's been very sunny in the morning and gusty winds in the afternoon. Nick could not complete our scheduled program of aerodynamic testing because of a minor problem and we had to call him back into the pits to change the engine. This morning Heinz-Harald focused on mechanical set-up work and continued this afternoon with a program of dampers and tyre testing."

Eleventh was Cristiano da Matta, the 2002 CART champion feeling positive following only his second proper day in the Toyota TF103. "It was a good and productive day for me," noted the Brazilian. "I am very happy with the way things went for what is only my second full day of testing in the TF103.

"I already feel much better in the car than I did yesterday and I got quickly acquainted with the track. It is encouraging for me to see how quickly I can adapt to a new F1 circuit as this will be the case at quite a few tracks this season."

Minardi's Justin Wilson was 13th, his best a 1m 17.046s. The Brit though was severely restricted, not only was he running in a PS01 - the 2001 car, which he is too small for - but the team also had to make do with a European engine and Avon slick tyres.

Paul Stoddart, team principal explained: "I sincerely hope that Bridgestone will choose to honour its contractual obligations under the terms of the 2003 Formula One Sporting Regulations and supply the team with tyres for Jos [Verstappen]'s test tomorrow.

"I also want to take this opportunity to thank Avon for its support and for supplying us with some incredibly interesting tyres. Considering they were never intended for Formula One levels of performance, they have done an exceptional job."

Testing continues tomorrow [Thursday].

Leading times (29 January) - Valencia:

1. Alexander Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1m 11.104s 68 laps**
2. Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m 11.598s 86 laps*
3. David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1m 11.632s 56 laps**
4. Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m 11.736s 108 laps*
5. Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Cosworth# 1m 12.246s 63 laps*
6. Jacques Villeneuve B.A.R-Honda# 1m 12.252s 58 laps*
7. Olivier Panis Toyota# 1m 12.384s 47 laps**
8. Mark Webber Jaguar-Cosworth# 1m 12.555s 44 laps**
9. Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Petronas# 1m 12.855s 81 laps*
10. Jenson Button B.A.R-Honda# 1m 12.926s 27 laps*
11. Cristiano da Matta Toyota# 1m 13.110s 75 laps**
12. Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas# 1m 13.134s 59 laps*
13. Justin Wilson Minardi-European 1m 17.046s 48 laps***

* denotes Bridgestone tyres.
** denotes Michelin tyres.
*** denotes Avon tyres.
# denotes 2003 car

Weather / Track Conditions: Sunny and very windy.

 

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