New FIA F3000 champion received his third Formula One outing of the season in Spain yesterday [Thursday], as he joined BAR-Honda for the final afternoon of its three-day test at Jerez de la Frontera.

The Swede had previously driven the Jordan EJ13 at both Monza and Indianapolis - where he undertook the Friday morning test session alongside Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralph Firman - but moved over to the BAR cockpit after the Brackley team offered both him and Arden International team-mate Townsend Bell a run. While the American got his chance prior to the USGP, Wirdheim joined Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato in Spain for a brief taste of the 005-Honda.

The 23-year old was made to wait while the final day of the team's 2003 test programme took priority, eventually getting into the car in the late afternoon and completing 19 laps. He performed one long familiarisation run, before finishing with a short five-lap sprint, during which he recorded a fastest time of 1min 26.728secs.

"Although I didn't have long, I was really impressed with the car, and extremely impressed with the brakes," Wirdheim revealed, "I haven't run in high-downforce [trim] before and there is a lot to learn.

"However, now I've had a brief taste of the car and the controls, hopefully I will get the chance to have a longer run once the test ban has finished."

BAR has returned to its Brackley base in order to prepare for the trip to Suzuka next week and, along with the other nine teams, will not then have a chance to run until December, when the self-imposed F1 test ban in is operation. Wirdheim, meanwhile, remains a possibility for the one seat remaining at the team and is likely to run again over the winter in order to establish his credentials for the slot alongside Jenson Button for 2004.



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