Minardi Debut 2004 Car at Misano

The Minardi Formula One team gave their 2004 challenger - the PS04B - its first run today at the Misano circuit in Italy.

Minardi Debut 2004 Car at Misano

The Minardi Formula One team gave their 2004 challenger - the PS04B - its first run today at the Misano circuit in Italy.

Hungarian Zsolt Baumgartner, who will drive for the Faenza-based squad in 2004, was the man in charge of putting the car through its paces, completing a total of 64 laps of the 4.060-km circuit.

Baumgartner's fastest lap was a 1:11.080, which marked a 2.5-second improvement over the fastest time recorded by Minardi the last time they visited the track in 2002.

"It has been a good day of testing," said the Hungarian at the end of the day. "I thought I might improve on my best morning time during the afternoon session, but it was not to be the case.

"I'm happy with the behaviour of the new car â€" it is more 'progressive' in its driving characteristics than the PS03 I drove in Valencia last month â€" and I'm also pleased to be feeling increasingly comfortable with both the driving and the team personnel."

Team boss Paul Stoddart was also pleased with the new car's performance.

"This may have been only a shakedown test of the new car, but Zsolt's best lap today, of 1:11.080, was 2.5 seconds faster than the quickest time the team recorded when it was last at Misano, with Mark Webber, in 2002," said Stoddart. "We take a lot of heart from today's performance and from that lap time.

"Zsolt did an excellent job, completing 64 trouble-free laps. It is also noteworthy that today's times were set on an engine that had run for nearly 700kms, giving us great faith that Cosworth has provided the team with a reliable, powerful engine that will be more than capable of coping with the new, 'long-distance' requirements specified by this year's F1 rules.

"We were also very pleased with the performance of the Bridgestone tyres today, which undoubtedly contributed to Zsolt's excellent laptimes."

Baumgartner's teammate Gianmaria Bruni will take over the driving duties tomorrow.

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