Zonta ends Paul Ricard test on top

Zonta ends Paul Ricard test on top

The week's testing at the Paul Ricard HTTT came to a close on April 7th with seven drivers from four teams at work on the French circuit. Toyota tester Ricardo Zonta was at the top of the time sheet, his best a 1:04.157, and fellow team test...

The week's testing at the Paul Ricard HTTT came to a close on April 7th with seven drivers from four teams at work on the French circuit. Toyota tester Ricardo Zonta was at the top of the time sheet, his best a 1:04.157, and fellow team test driver Olivier Panis rounded off the list in seventh. Their programme for the week was mostly tyres and aerodynamics.

Ricardo Zonta.
Photo by Toyota Racing.

"We have made some improvement, which I hope proves well at Imola, because this is a circuit that is hard for graining, especially when the track is still dirty," said Zonta. "Paul Ricard has a similar track surface and the tyre choice we've made this week seems to do well. Now we just need to keep concentrated and keep pushing."

Giancarlo Fisichella was the sole Renault present and was second quickest, just under two tenths behind Zonta. The Italian had a relatively trouble free day while working on tyres. "We completed today our programme to prepare Imola and the tyre work was very encouraging," said chief test engineer Christian Silk.

"Giancarlo did a great job once again and seemed to be very satisfied with the car and its behaviour to set up changes and to the new envelops. We are going to Barcelona next week which promise to be a very busy session!"

McLaren's test driver duo of Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett were third and fourth fastest respectively. De la Rosa spent his week working in the MP4-21 on suspension, dampers, set up and tyres. Paffett piloted the interim MP4-20 with the restricted V10 engine and his focus was tyres for the forthcoming European races.

"This has been an intensive and productive three days of testing at Paul Ricard," said de la Rosa. "We are continuing to make positive progress, which we will carry over to next week when Kimi (Raikkonen) and Juan Pablo (Montya) will be testing at Barcelona before the return to racing at Imola."

After the McLarens came a pair of BMW Saubers, tester Robert Kubica fifth and Nick Heidfeld sixth. Kubica worked on set up, tyres and electronics, while Heidfeld focused on set up, brakes and aerodynamic validation. The German's afternoon running was curtailed by a hydraulic problem.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Pedro de la Rosa , Olivier Panis , Nick Heidfeld , Ricardo Zonta , Gary Paffett , Robert Kubica
Teams Sauber , McLaren , Toyota Racing