Zonta Sets the Pace at Jerez - Day Three

Ricardo Zonta set the quickest time on the third day of testing at the Jerez circuit, where Ferrari's new car was measured for the first time against its rivals.

Zonta Sets the Pace at Jerez - Day Three

Ricardo Zonta set the quickest time on the third day of testing at the Jerez circuit, where Ferrari's new car was measured for the first time against its rivals.

Toyota's test driver Zonta set a fastest time of 1:15.708, finishing the day less than a tenth of a second off the unofficial track record held by Michael Schumacher. Zonta drove Toyota's TF104B car to outpace McLaren's test driver Alexander Wurz by over half a second.

Wurz was at the wheel of the MP4-19B.

Ralf Schumacher was the only racing driver at Jerez today, the German having returned to Europe following the season opening race in Melbourne. Schumacher, driving the TF105, finished as fourth quickest after only 58 laps.

Frenchman Franck Montagny and Finn Heikki Kovalainen began Renault's preparations for the Malaysian Grand Prix after their victory in Australia. Montagny drove the R25, the Frenchman finishing as third quickest while Kovalainen was eighth after 86 laps in the R24.

"We made a good start to our test in Jerez," said Renault's chief test engineer Christian Silk. "As soon as the circuit conditions had improved, our priority was to complete as much running as possible concentrating on tyre evaluation. Both drivers completed their programmes, and gained positive results which we will pursue tomorrow."

World Champions Ferrari took to the track with their F2005 car, testing alongside their rivals for the first time since the new machine was launched.

Italian Luca Badoer was the man in charge of testing duties in the team's latest challenger, the test driver managing 74 laps on his way to the fifth quickest time, over two seconds off Zonta's pace. Marc Gene drove the F2004M and finished ninth on the timesheets.

BAR's Enrique Bernoldi and Anthony Davidson continued with the Honda-powered squad's programme, with the Brazilian driving the hybrid 006 car while Davidson took to the track in the 007. Both men had a productive day, covering over 240 laps between them.

Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia, in the FW27, was slowest on the team's first day of work of the week at Jerez.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:15.708 112 2. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:16.324 149 3. Montagny Renault (M) 1:17.324 109 4. R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:17.418 58 5. Badoer Ferrari (B) 1:18.155 74 6. Bernoldi BAR-Honda (M) 1:18.250 121 7. Davidson BAR-Honda (M) 1:18.324 123 8. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:18.327 86 9. Gene Ferrari (B) 1:18.378 63 10. Pizzonia Williams-BMW (M) 1:18.592 76 All Timing Unofficial

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