Atlas F1 News Service

Villeneuve on Top as Valencia Test Ends - Final Day

Friday May 18th, 2001

British American Racing driver Jacques Villeneuve topped the timesheets on the fourth and final day of testing at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Spain, where seven Formula One teams continued working following the departure of McLaren, who set the pace on the first three days.

Completing 74 laps, Villeneuve, who yesterday endured a problematic session after spinning off the track twice, edged Jordan's Jarno Trulli by only two hundredths of a second.

Kimi Raikkonen continued working for the Sauber team, being third fastest today. The young Finn, who worked on damper settings and mechanical set-ups for the Monaco Grand Prix, suffered a problem during the morning session that forced the team to change the gearbox, losing valuable track time.

"It was unfortunate that we lost some time this morning, but we got going well this afternoon and had another productive day," said Raikkonen. "I'm particularly pleased to have set the fastest-ever time for the team on the Valencia circuit."

Juan Pablo Montoya and test driver Marc Gene were again working for the Williams team, the Colombian setting the fourth quickest time of the day while the Spaniard was only eleventh nearly a second behind the first FW23. At the end of the day, French tyre manufacturer Michelin artificially flooded the track and the Williams drivers worked with different wet-weather tyres.

"We had a good test with very few problems," said Montoya. "We have done a lot of useful work for Monaco, and so I am looking forward to driving there next week to see how much we have been able to improve the cars."

Jordan's test driver Ricard Zonta was fifth fastest despite an incident where he almost crashed against the tyre barriers after spinning off the track with the EJ11.

Frenchman Olivier Panis forced the session to be stopped on two occasions after his BAR suffered mechanical problems. Panis was sixth fastest, more than a second behind teammate Villeneuve, while Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa was seventh. The Jaguar driver was able today to test the new aerodynamic package on the team's R2 for the fist time.

Arrows drivers Enrique Bernoldi and Jos Verstappen were eighth and ninth quickest respectively, the Dutchman also forcing the session to be red-flagged after he stopped on the track with his Asiatech-powered A22. Frenchman Jean Alesi posted the tenth fastest time with the Prost.

Young German Andre Lotterer was given today his second opportunity to drive a Formula One car with the Jaguar team. The German Formula Three driver replaced Eddie Irvine at the wheel of the second R2, and he could become the team's official test driver following Tomas Scheckter departure.

Lotterer completed 83 laps today and set the slowest time of the session, more than a second behind Spaniard de la Rosa.

Today's times:

Pos  Driver        Team-Engine         Tyres  Time   
 1.  Villeneuve    BAR-Honda           (B)    1:13.122
 2.  Trulli        Jordan-Honda        (B)    1:13.143
 3.  Raikkonen     Sauber-Petronas     (B)    1:13.178
 4.  Montoya       Williams-BMW        (M)    1:13.454
 5.  Zonta         Jordan-Honda        (B)    1:14.116
 6.  Panis         BAR-Honda           (B)    1:14.124
 7.  de la Rosa    Jaguar-Cosworth     (M)    1:14.552
 8.  Bernoldi      Arrows-Asiatech     (B)    1:14.677
 9.  Verstappen    Arrows-Asiatech     (B)    1:14.791
10.  Alesi         Prost-Acer          (M)    1:14.839
11.  Gene          Williams-BMW        (M)    1:14.850
12.  Lotterer      Jaguar-Cosworth     (M)    1:15.729

All Timing Unofficial

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