Giancarlo Fisichella believes reigning world champions Renault have overtaken BMW in the battle to be best-of-the-rest behind McLaren and Ferrari in 2007, as the outfit heads into its home grand prix at Magny-Cours this weekend.

The Italian is confident the R?gie made a positive step forward in performance terms during testing at Silverstone last week, and while he acknowledges there is much ground still to be made up on the two pace-setting teams, he is convinced Renault is now finally on the right track once more for a far more competitive second half to the campaign

"It was a good test for us," Fisichella affirmed. "I think we made another step forward; we've got a new floor and new rear suspension. It's a small step which is quite encouraging. [The target] for this weekend is again to get to the end of the race and score points. We would like to fight for the podium because it is a very important grand prix for us, but I think McLaren and Ferrari are still a step ahead, maybe two...

"I think we are quicker than BMW now, or at least I hope we are, and for the rest of the season the goal is just to make progress as we have so far. For Budapest we will have a new front wing which is a good step forward, so we just need to make progress in each race and get closer to McLaren and Ferrari."

Fisichella has not always enjoyed the best of fortunes in the French Grand Prix, only twice finishing inside the points - courtesy of a brace of sixth places - in ten starts. He is, however, optimistic of a better result this time around as Renault continues to fight its way back up the F1 pecking order.

"Unfortunately over the last couple of years I was a little bit unlucky," the 34-year-old explained, "especially two years ago when I stalled the engine in the pit-stop. There was a possibility to get on the podium there. In the past it hasn't been good for me, but usually in the qualifying session I have been close to my team-mate or in the first few rows so it's going to be alright.

"It's our home grand prix and there are a lot of fans and people coming from the factory, so it's going to be a really important weekend."



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