Wilson sets Spa testing pace

Championship leader Justin Wilson was fastest in official Formula 3000 testing at Spa yesterday (Friday) but poor weather turned the day into something of a lottery

Wilson sets Spa testing pace

The morning session was halted early because fog was hampering visibility. Red Bull Junior driver Patrick Freisacher had been the fastest of the drivers who bothered to venture onto the extremely wet track, lapping in 2m31.588s, 0.7s faster than second-placed Antonio Pizzonia.

Pizzonia then set the pace for much of the afternoon session as wet weather again hampered the teams' progress. The Petrobras Junior Team's Brazilian rookie held the advantage until the conditions improved mildly for the final 15 minutes of the test, allowing Wilson, Mark Webber and Jonathan Cochet to demote Pizzonia to fourth. Morning pacesetter Freisacher was fifth.

Webber, who is now second in the championship behind Wilson, was 0.5s slower than his title rival after having his fastest time disallowed for cutting a chicane.

"The weather has been very frustrating, but this isn't a surprise for Spa," he said.

Pizzonia, fresh from scoring his first F3000 podium finish at Silverstone last weekend, felt he could have gone quicker had he not run out of fuel at the end of the session.

"Every time I was on the circuit I was 0.5-1s quicker than anybody else," he said. "Right at the end of the day when the track was at it's quickest, I ran out of fuel and ended up coming into the pits rather than finishing the lap. But I am happy because generally I know I am quick here in the wet."

The turbulent weather conditions caused some surprises in the final order. DAMS' Derek Hill and Durango's Gabriele Lancieri did much better than usual, ending the day sixth and ninth quickest respectively. Conversely, title contender Tomas Enge was only 22nd quickest in the second Nordic car, 5s off the pace of team-mate Wilson.

Tomas Scheckter returned to the category to take the place of the injured David Saelens in the European Minardi squad. The Formula Nissan driver was 25th quickest. Also making an F3000 comeback was Warren Hughes, returning to the Arden team having raced for them in Italian F3000 last season. The BTCC MG driver was 23rd overall, but had been sixth in the difficult conditions of the morning session.

Testing continues today (Saturday).



Justin Wilson Nordic 2m29.476s
Mark Webber Super Nova 2m29.907s
Jonathan Cochet Prost 2m29.941s
Antonio Pizzonia Petrobras 2m29.970s
Patrick Freisacher Red Bull 2m30.013s
Derek Hill DAMS 2m30.183s
Darren Manning Arden 2m30.351s
Sebastian Bourdais DAMS 2m30.656s
Gabriele Lancieri Durango 2m30.969s
Rodrigo Sperafico Coloni 2m30.990s

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