Jerez 1: Pizzonia on top

Antonio Pizzonia put continued troubles with his twisted ankle behind him to set the fastest time on the opening day of testing at Jerez in Spain on Tuesday, as Williams aims to build on the momentum of its strong performance in Japan last weekend

Jerez 1: Pizzonia on top

The Brazilian had to miss the last test at Jerez because he tore some ligaments in his ankle after a fall at his hotel in China and, although he confessed to still feeling some pain when walking, it clearly has no affect on his driving.

His best lap of one minute 17.111 seconds was almost two tenths of a second faster than closest challenger Franck Montagny in the Renault. "My ankle is still a little swollen, but I have no problem when driving," said Pizzonia.

Pizzonia was running through a Michelin tyre programme in preparation for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Tuesday and tomorrow he is expected to focus on long runs as well as some preliminary evaluation of 2005 aero parts.

Montagny was working on long-run evaluation on Tuesday, while fellow Renault runner Heikki Kovalainen focused on aero mapping. The pair will be replaced by Fernando Alonso and Jacques Villeneuve from Wednesday - with the latter confessing that he is desperate for more mileage.

A successful test for Villeneuve will be vital in helping Renault's ultra-slim hopes of beating BAR to second place in the constructors' championship - although the fact it needs a win and third place in Brazil means such a scenario is highly unlikely.

BAR is pulling out all the stops for the Brazilian race, with only a disaster now costing it second spot in the title chase. The team is understood to have given the green light for Honda to bring its 'Suzuka special' engine to the final race of the season - even though an engine failure for Bernoldi on Tuesday morning will have provided some cause for concern about the power-unit's reliability.



Antonio Pizzonia (Williams) 1m17.111s
Franck Montagny (Renault) 1m17.293s
Alexander Wurz (McLaren) 1m17.847s
Heikki Kovalainen (Renault) 1m18.175s
Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren) 1m18.465s
Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) 1m18.542s
Enrique Bernoldi (BAR) 1m18.613s
Franck Perera (Toyota) 1m19.695s
Bjorn Wirdheim (Jaguar) 1m20.042s

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Pizzonia Tops the Times at Jerez - Day One

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