Atlas F1 News Service

Ralf on Top on First Day at Kyalami

Thursday February 8th, 2001

Ralf Schumacher is hoping the rain stays away after he topped the times on the opening day of testing at the South African Kyalami circuit on Thursday.

Schumacher, who was thwarted last year at the circuit by heavy rain, completed 40 laps on Thursday with a quickest lap time of one minute and 21.909 seconds.

"I had a good day today," Schumacher said. "The FW23 is performing better than the FW22 did here last year and it's a good platform for us to develop from. We have five days ahead of us and the weather - unlike last year - looks to be on our side."

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya was over a second slower on his first taste of the track but he said the test gives him the perfect opportunity to prepare for the new season.

"I've spent most of the day familiarising myself with the track," Montoya said. "Despite a small problem with the gearbox, I managed a good number of laps today.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us over the next few days and I'm pretty fired-up about my first full test programme with the 2001 challenger."

British American Racing new-boy Olivier Panis was slowest of the three drivers on duty, over two seconds slower than Schumacher as he completed 33 laps.

Today's times:

Pos  Driver        Team-Engine         Tyres  Time   
 1.  R.Schumacher  Williams-BMW        (M)    1:21.909
 2.  Montoya       Williams-BMW        (M)    1:22.923
 3.  Panis         BAR-Honda           (B)    1:23.928

All Timing Unofficial

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