Ralf Goes Quickest at Magny Cours - Day One

The Formula One teams got back to work only two days after the Monaco Grand Prix, travelling to the Magny-Cours circuit in France, where they will carry out a three-day session in preparation for the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks time.

Ralf Goes Quickest at Magny Cours - Day One

The Formula One teams got back to work only two days after the Monaco Grand Prix, travelling to the Magny-Cours circuit in France, where they will carry out a three-day session in preparation for the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks time.

Ralf Schumacher was fastest today with the Williams, the German, as most of the other drivers present at the French track, working on tyre evaluation for the Canadian race at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit. Schumacher, who completed 57 laps, bettered this year's testing record by more than four tenths of a second, the previous best set by Mika Hakkinen in the McLaren back in April.

Alexander Wurz was second quickest with the only McLaren on track, while Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa was third with the first of the Jaguars, which benefitted from the aero package introduced at Monaco to continue to show their improved form.

De la Rosa's teammate Eddie Irvine, who finished in third place in the Principality last Sunday, was fifth quickest behind Rubens Barrichello with the Ferrari, the Brazilian concentrating on set-up work as well as tyre testing.

The Italian team, winners of the Monaco Grand Prix, where present with two cars, the second one being driven by Championship leader Michael Schumacher, who only completed seven laps on his way to the ninth fastest time of the session. Both Barrichello and Schumacher will continue testing tomorrow.

Jordan's test driver Ricardo Zonta outpaced Italian Jarno Trulli, both drivers completing their tyre programme for the Silverstone-based team. Zonta was sixth fastest while Trulli was seventh, edging Jacques Villeneuve at the wheel of the first BAR. Patrick Lemarie, one of the test drivers of the team from Brackley, was eleventh today.

Benetton's Jenson Button and Prost's Luciano Burti were the only drivers for the respective teams, both close to the bottom of the timesheets. Meanwhile, the Arrows team worked with both their drivers Enrique Bernoldi, who was 12th fastest, and Jos Verstappen, who posted the slowest time of the day after expiriencing some problems with his car.

"We did a good number of laps today despite a few problems this morning and managed to play with the settings on the car to try to make some improvements," said Verstappen. "I think it's fair to say we're making progress, but there's still a lot of work to do."

Testing at Magny-Cours will resume on Wednesday.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time 1. R.Schumacher Williams-BMW (M) 1:15.137 2. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:15.435 3. de la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:15.443 4. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:15.473 5. Irvine Jaguar-Cosworth (B) 1:15.527 6. Zonta Jordan-Honda (B) 1:16.450 7. Trulli Jordan-Honda (B) 1:16.529 8. Villeneuve BAR-Honda (B) 1:16.705 9. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:16.728 10. Button Benetton-Renault (M) 1:16.823 11. Lemarie BAR-Honda (B) 1:16.878 12. Bernoldi Arrows-Asiatech (B) 1:17.009 13. Burti Prost-Acer (M) 1:17.031 14. Verstappen Arrows-Asiatech (B) 1:17.231 All Timing Unofficial

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