Practice 2: Panis on a charge

Olivier Panis made a last-minute lunge round the Nurburgring to go fastest in the second practice session for the European Grand Prix this morning (Saturday). The Frenchman pipped Rubens Barrichello to the post by almost a second with a sizzling 1m31.181s lap

Practice 2: Panis on a charge

The rest of the front runners were more familiar names: David Coulthard eventually went third after running down in 11th for most of the session, with Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher filling out the top six.

Ralf Schumacher kept everyone at bay for most of the session, shadowed unexpectedly by the flying Panis. Ralf finished seventh quickest, 1.7s off the Frenchman's outlandish time.

Antonio Pizzonia and Cristiano da Matta duelled it out behind the leading heavyweights. Da Matta, in the sister Toyota, had several lock-ups as he struggled to get to grips with the chicanes. Other tyre smokers included Nick Heidfeld, Jacques Villeneuve and both Williams boys.

The promise of the Renaults remained somewhat hidden, with Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso in 10th and 12th, split by Villeneuve in the BAR.
The French Canadian's team-mate Jenson Button finished the session in a lowly 14th, no specific problems were reported by the team.

Briton Ralf Firman was working overtime in the cockpit of the Jordan - rarely a good sign - but he remained ahead of his more experienced team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella. Justin Wilson brought up the rear in his Minardi.

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