Paul Ricard, day 4: Wurz surprises

Juan Pablo Montoya set the fastest time on the fourth day of testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in France today (Friday), but it was Alex Wurz who stole the show, setting the second quickest time in the new McLaren MP4-18A

Paul Ricard, day 4: Wurz surprises

After encountering reliability gremlins for the first two days of its running, Wurz was finally allowed to push the new MP4-18A harder today. A sign of the car's potential was that his quickest lap came in the final hour of the test when the car was running a heavier fuel load than most of the rivals present.

"The last hour of the testing has been the most interesting for me," Wurz told autosport.com. "I could actually play with the set-up and put some of the guesses and ideas on the car. It was a shame that it was a very limited amount of time but having done that I'm very happy with the performance of the car. I had a very good feeling in the car. Obviously, it's very early days yet but I look forward to the next test."

Wurz was also full of praise for the work done by the McLaren mechanics at the test. "They have done such a good job for the past three days. They've been up until 3am and then they've still had to be back at 6.30am. So I'm glad to be able to tell them that the car's good."

In order to make preparations for the Canadian Grand Prix, testing switched to Paul Ricard's 3B circuit today, which features long straights and tight hairpins akin to the Montreal street circuit.

The Williams team concentrated on tyre comparison work and brake development, and was happy with the progress it made. "The car looks very good for Montreal," said test driver Marc Gene, who set the third fastest time. "We did our homework for Canada and it looks good."

Pedro de la Rosa was only fourth quickest in McLaren's MP4-17D, but was also confident the car would be a force in Canada. "The car looks very, very good for Montreal," he said.

Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m32.307s 69
Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m33.566s 30*
Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m34.059s 65
Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes M 1m34.099s 74*
Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1m36.218s 62

M = Michelin
* Wurz in MP4-18, de la Rosa in MP4-17D

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