Pizzonia Breaks Monza Record, Schumacher Crashes

Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia set a new unofficial track record on the second day of testing at the Monza circuit today.

Pizzonia Breaks Monza Record, Schumacher Crashes

Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia set a new unofficial track record on the second day of testing at the Monza circuit today.

World Champion Michael Schumacher, meanwhile, was involved in a heavy crash in the afternoon after losing control of his Ferrari at the end of the main straight. Initial reports suggest the German driver suffered a puncture in one of his car's rear tyres and went straight off the track, crashing against the barriers.

Schumacher was uninjured but had to lay down on the grass before the medical assistance arrived. The German's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said Schumacher spun and hit the barriers while approaching one of the fastest parts of the track at around 300 kph.

"Something happened to the left rear tyre, we don't know what yet, on the start/finish straight," she said after the accident in the late afternoon. "The car spun and hit the wall with the rear. Michael got out and lay down on the grass as a precaution."

The German had tested a new nose cone on his Ferrari F2004 and posted the seventh quickest time of the session. His Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello was also in action at Monza and posted the third quickest time of the day more than seven tenths of a second behind Pizzonia.

The Brazilian Williams driver lapped the Italian circuit in 1:20.010, over a tenth of a second quicker than what Ferrari's test driver Luca Badoer had managed earlier this year. Williams were again in action with two cars, with Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya driving the second FW26.

The McLaren team had both their racing drivers at work today after Belgian Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen took over from Austrian Alexander Wurz. Raikkonen had a good session and finished as second fastest while his teammate David Coulthard wound up 10th.

BAR were the only team in action with three drivers, as Jenson Button joined tester Anthony Davidson and teammate Takuma Sato. Davidson was the fastest of the three, with Button and Sato following.

Renault's Fernando Alonso was eighth quickest as he conducted tyre testing for the French squad. His teammate Jarno Trulli was 13th fastest after working with the Monza-specification engine, although the Italian's day was hampered by problems in the morning.

"We lost half a day with Jarno's car and while this means we have not completed as much running as we would have liked, it has not significantly hampered our work," said Renault's Christian Silk, Chief Test Engineer.

"Fernando completed an impressive number of laps and overall we progressed well with the tyre choice for next weekend. The car has been both reliable and competitive, which we hope to maintain on our final day tomorrow."

Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella continued with the Swiss squad's three-day test, working on set-up for the Monza race next week. Fisichella finished 11th.

"We basically spent the day with working on our low downforce level for the Italian Grand Prix next week and were also able to make a decision on brakes and Bridgestone tyre specification for the Monza race," explained Sauber's race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara.

"Thanks to good weather and track conditions Giancarlo was able to run a lot of laps which helped us to proceed with our programme as scheduled. Tomorrow Felipe will take over to get a solid feeling of what Bridgestone tyres, brakes and car set-up we will have for Monza, and will furthermore start to evaluate tyres for the Chinese Grand Prix."

Austrian Christian Klien and Australian teammate Mark Webber were 12th and 14th quickest respectively as the Jaguar team continued with their preparations for the Italian Grand Prix. Brazilian Ricardo Zonta joined the test today, replacing Ryan Briscoe at the wheel of one of the Toyotas.

Jordan's test driver Timo Glock also tested for the first day at the wheel of the Ford-powered car. Minardi had their two racing drivers Zsolt Baumgartner and Gianmaria Bruni in action, both men finishing at the bottom of the timesheets.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Pizzonia Williams-BMW (M) 1:20.010 72 2. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:20.794 88 3. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:20.846 57 4. Davidson BAR-Honda (M) 1:20.877 63 5. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:20.948 84 6. Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:20.981 86 7. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:21.060 92 8. Alonso Renault (M) 1:21.083 116 9. Montoya Williams-BMW (M) 1:21.096 63 10. Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:21.172 84 11. Fisichella Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:21.179 96 12. Klien Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:21.487 60 13. Trulli Renault (M) 1:21.658 34 14. Webber Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:21.680 57 15. Panis Toyota (M) 1:22.480 58 16. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:22.865 55 17. Glock Jordan-Ford (B) 1:23.942 81 18. Baumgartner Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:24.099 40 19. Bruni Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:25.018 17 All Timing Unofficial

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