Paul Ricard, day 3: JPM and DC top!

Williams and McLaren tied for top spot in testing at Paul Ricard in France today (Thursday) when Juan Pablo Montoya and David Coulthard set exactly the same fastest lap time

Paul Ricard, day 3: JPM and DC top!

Montoya was upbeat after his day's work, telling autosport.com: "We did tyres today and it was pretty good. We're quite happy with what we've done and I think we're better than McLaren with Monaco compounds. It all looks good."

Both Montoya and Coulthard lapped in 1m10.815s according to unofficial timing, but that was a whacking six-tenths clear of yesterday's pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) who was only third quickest today. Williams test driver Marc Gene was fourth fastest, but didn't manage to break into the 1m11s bracket.

Cristiano da Matta took over from Olivier Panis at Toyota and set the fifth fastest time, ahead of Renault's Allan McNish. The Scot told autosport.com: "It was a very good test overall and we were able to use the time effectively. We are pretty optimistic for Monaco, and I reckon we should be in the points for the rest of the season because all of the circuits favour us from now."

Alexander Wurz was slowest once again in the new McLaren MP4-18A, which required a squirt of fire extinguisher every time it came into the pits. He stopped just after 2pm (local time) this afternoon due to a technical problem, but reappeared for a five-lap burst when the track time was extended after a lorry fire outside the circuit had caused a halt to all running just before 18:00.

Wurz's best time was a 1m14.620s.

Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m10.815s 71
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes M 1m10.815s 120
Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m11.435s 93
Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m12.082s 106
Cristiano da Matta Toyota B 1m12.320s 104
Allan McNish Renault M 1m12.427s 156
Alexander Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m14.620s 10*

B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin

* - denotes McLaren MP4-18, others in MP4-17D

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