Dropped from the Red Bull search for an American Formula 1 driver, a relaxed Paul Edwards turned the form book on its head to set the pace ahead of Sunday's final races in the Dallara Nissan World Series at Jarama, near Madrid
Edwards set a great pace, lapping 0.4s quicker than Ricardo Zonta's 2002 lap record, despite cold conditions and a slippery track. But although it was a good result, he knows that he has to repeat the showing when it matters, in Saturday's qualifying sessions.
"The car feels good, but it's only practice," he said. "I feel really relaxed behind the wheel and I hope I can continue this form tomorrow."
It was a good day for KTR, with Spaniard Felix Porteiro setting the third best time. Gabord Competicion's Heikki Kovalainen was the meat in the KTR sandwich, trailing Edwards by 0.2s in second place. His French team-mate Franck Montagny missed the sessions as he is testing for the Renault Formula 1 team in Valencia, but the Finn revelled in his absence, setting the second best time in both 45-minute sessions.
"I want to end the season with another win," he said. "Of course, second place in the championship would be nice too."
Jean Christophe Ravier was fourth fastest for Epsilon Euskadi just ahead of series returnee, Antonio Garcia, who did a great job for Adrian Campos Motorsport to record the fifth best time. The other series newcomers, Enrico Toccacelo and Pablo Donoso had more troubled times, however.
Aboard an RC Motorsport car, Toccacelo had a spin the first session, but still set the 11th best time. He improved by over a second, but dropped back to 13th in the final standings. Nevertheless, he was only 0.3s down on his experienced team-mate Polo Villaamil, winner of the last round at Valencia.
World Series Lights graduate Donoso had gearbox problems in the first session in his GD Racing car. The Chilean was helped out when the new-for-2004 team, Porefesa Competiticion, loaned him the rear from their ex-Meycom Racing car. This allowed Donoso to take part in the second session and he took over 1.5s off his earlier time, although he was still the slowest of the 18 runners.
Paul Edwards KTR 1m23.192s Heikki Kovalainen Gabord Competicion +0.207s Felix Porteiro KTR +0.250s Jean Christophe Ravier Epsilon Euskadi +0.478s Antonio Garcia Adrian Campos Motorsport +0.541s Bruce Jouanny Carlin Motorsport +0.563s
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