Davidson on Top at Paul Ricard

As the teams present helped Michelin work towards picking tyres for the next round of the Championship in Bahrain, Davidson showed that Honda's embarrassingly early exit from Sepang was down to exceptional circumstances rather than a major fault with its current engine

Davidson on Top at Paul Ricard
Anthony Davidson made up for his disappointing early exit from the Malaysian Grand Prix with the fastest time on the opening day of testing at Paul Ricard in France on Wednesday - although the most encouraging aspect of the day was the amount of running he was able to do.

Davidson completed a total of 167 laps, with fellow test driver Enrique Bernoldi in the 2004-spec BAR completing 176 laps, to show that Honda's endurance runs are not as bad as Malaysia had seemed to suggest.

Toyota test driver Ricardo Zonta continued the Japanese manufacturer's recent strong form with the second fastest time, just three hundredths of a second slower than Davidson's best. The Brazilian's day was interrupted by a red-flag causing electrical problem, however. The other red flag came out when Toyota tester Olivier Panis suffered a gearbox failure.

McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz were third and fourth quickest, ahead of Renault's Heikki Kovalainen, who was getting his first taste of the new R25 that has proved to be the strongest car so far this season.

Speaking to Autosport-Atlas about his experience, Kovalainen said: "The new car is nice. You don't have to fight it and it is easier to be consistent lap after lap.

"It was slippery in the morning but got better later. I was doing some tyre work today and really enjoyed it. It was fun."

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Davidson BAR-Honda (M) 1:04.176 167 2. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:04.213 121 3. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:04.305 129 4. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:04.613 117 5. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:04.827 143 6. Montagny Renault (M) 1:04.912 150 7. Panis Toyota (M) 1:05.581 70 8. Bernoldi BAR-Honda (M) 1:06.044 176 

All Timing Unofficial

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