Friday test: McNish bows out on a high

Allan McNish fired a parting shot to Renault team-mates Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli by setting the fastest time in the two-hour test session prior to the Japanese Grand Prix meeting in Suzuka this morning. The Scottish ace, on his last outing for the Regie, dominated the session and was the quickest man throughout, despite pulling off the circuit with ten minutes remaining when his engine let go

Friday test: McNish bows out on a high

It was the first time McNish had driven at Suzuka since he was forced to miss last year's Japanese GP following a massive accident at 130R in free practice. But the Scot was blisteringly quick this morning and seemed determined to send a message to would-be F1 employers that perhaps his days in F1 are not over quite yet.

Alonso ended the session just under two tenths slower than McNish, while Trulli was another half a second back.

Giancarlo Fisichella was fourth fastest in the customer Ford-engined Jordan having spent the morning trading times with factory Jaguar star Mark Webber. The Australian's Cosworth Racing engine specification is clearly higher than that of Fisichella's, and on a circuit where power is reasonably important, the Italian's speed would suggest that Bridgestone has brought some competitive rubber to its home track.

As if to emphasise this point, Ralph Firman outgunned Justin Wilson in the battle of the British rookies as the pair set the sixth and seventh fastest times respectively.

Satoshi Motoyama made the most of his Formula 1 debut with Jordan. The 32-year-old double Formula Nippon champion used his extensive knowledge of the Suzuka circuit to help come to terms with driving a grand prix car for the first time quickly. The Japanese driver did a good job and for most of the session kept Firman honest, indeed he was faster at some points of his stint. A second slower than the Englishman at the session's end, Motoyama might have gone faster still had his car not failed as he pulled away from the pits with 20 minutes of the session remaining.

Jos Verstappen was unsurprisingly the fastest of the Minardi trio but once again the team's impressive Italian test driver Gianmaria Bruni was quicker than the race seat incumbent Nicolas Kiesa who was last of the runners.

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