Bernoldi sets the pace

Enrique Bernoldi signaled his intent to challenge for next year's FIA Formula 3000 title by dominating both days of testing at Barcelona

Bernoldi sets the pace

The Brazilian, who appears to have been overlooked for Sauber's second F1 seat in favour of Kimi Raikkonen, lapped his Red Bull Junior Team car almost half a second quicker than Justin Wilson's Nordic Racing machine.

Wilson said: "Bernoldi was quick this year so I always expected him to be a contender. I'm going to keep working away and it's encouraging that my car is very consistent - I ran five laps under 1m32.5s. He did his quickest lap of 1m31.7s, then a 32.7s and then he couldn't get back into the 32s at all."

Darren Manning was third quickest for Arden Team Russia, lapping only fractionally slower than Wilson.

"Decent testing is hard at Barcelona because the tyres are only good for one or two fast laps and then they go off rapidly," said Manning. "We were pleased with the car as it was improved over the race earlier this year and on used tyres I was consistently quick and trading times with Bernoldi."

The most impressive rookie at the test was Italian Enrico Toccacelo for Coloni. He ended an up-and-down season in German Formula Three with an impressive fifth quickest time.

The head-to-head battle between British and German F3 champions Antonio Pizzonia and Giorgio Pantano only occurred in the final session on Thursday. Pantano lapped 0.13s quicker in his Team Astromega car than Pizzonia did for Petrobras.

top 10 times from Wednesday/Thursday

1 Enrique Bernoldi, Red Bull Junior Team, 1m31.783s
2 Justin Wilson, Nordic Racing, 1m32.245s
3 Darren Manning, Arden Team Russia, 1m32.291s
4 Jeffrey van Hooydonk, Coloni, 1m 32.578s
5 Enrico Toccacelo, Coloni, 1m32.592s
6 Tomas Enge, Nordic Racing, 1m32.604s
7 Mario Haberfeld, Petrobras Junior Team, 1m32.911s
8 Christijan Albers, European Arrows, 1m33.001s
9 Patrick Friesacher, Red Bull Junior Team, 1m33.056s
10 Giorgio Pantano, Team Astromega, 1m33.121s

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