McLaren-Mercedes driver, Juan Montoya set the pace today [Wednesday] at Jerez in Spain, as the latest F1 group test got underway.

The Colombian completed 75 laps in total in the MP4-20, his best a 1 minute 18.203 seconds, around a tenth or so up on Ricardo Zonta, who lead the rest. JPM spent the day concentrating on performance testing including some suspension development work. Alex Wurz meanwhile was also on track for McLaren, however he drove an MP4-19B and was fifth on the timesheets, while conducting Michelin tyre tests for the forthcoming French, British and German Grand's Prix.

Anthony Davidson was third for BAR, with Jacques Villeneuve fourth in the Sauber C24. The Canadian managed over 60 odd laps, his best four tenths off Montoya.

"Today we focused on assessing several cooling options in preparation for forthcoming hot weather races, and today's high ambient and track temperatures helped us to get clear ideas," explained Sauber test engineer, Paul Russell. "We also worked on the set-up of the car and evaluated together with Michelin the tyre compound for the French Grand Prix next week. Overall, it was a good and productive test day for us.

"For the rest of the week we have planned to do long-runs for further Michelin tyre tests and to check new aerodynamic parts."

Further down the field, Renault duo, Franck Montagny and Fernando Alonso came in sixth and seventh respectively, the two split by around half a second. Both drivers concentrated on 'long distance running in the context of chassis set-up programmes'.

"It was a difficult day owing to the windy conditions which made any truly representative work difficult," said Renault chief test engineer, Christian Silk. "We nevertheless completed a good number of laps, in spite of several stoppages, and will try and build on this tomorrow as we prepare for the race in Magny-Cours."

Red Bull Racing's Christian Klien was eighth, while Toyota third driver, Olivier Panis and David Coulthard rounded out the top ten. The only other drivers in action were BAR's Enrique Bernoldi and Adam Carroll.

Ferrari meanwhile were also testing but not at Jerez. Like on Tuesday they ran at Barcelona, where test driver, Luca Badoer was in action for the second day running. After focusing on set-up and aerodynamic testing on Tuesday he switched to Bridgestone tyre testing today, chalking up another 100 or so laps.

Testing continues tomorrow at both venues.

Leading times (22 June) - Jerez:

1. Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren- Mercedes 1m 18.203s 75 laps
2. Ricardo Zonta Toyota-Toyota 1m 18.372s 87 laps
3. Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda 1m 18.468s 115 laps
4. Jacques Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas 1m 18.674s 62 laps
5. Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1m 18.687s 88 laps
6. Franck Montagny Renault-Renault 1m 18.739s 92 laps
7. Fernando Alonso Renault-Renault 1m 19.222s 80 laps
8. Christian Klien Red Bull-Cosworth 1m 19.231s 41 laps
9. Olivier Panis Toyota-Toyota 1m 19.350s 104 laps
10. David Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth 1m 19.587s 58 laps
11. Enrique Bernoldi BAR-Honda 1m 19.784s 63 laps
12. Adam Carroll BAR-Honda 1m 22.448s 26 laps

[all cars on Michelin tyres]

Track conditions: Sunny and hot.

All times unofficial - courtesy of McLaren and Sauber.



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