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Jordan dominates Monza testing

THE Jordan-Peugeots of Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher dominated the pre-Italian Grand Prix testing at Monza last week - at which 37,000 spectators were present. The testing began on Tuesday and continued until Saturday, Thursday having been disrupted by poor weather. The fastest lap of the week went to Fisichella who recorded a 1m23.32s lap on his final day of testing on Friday. The Italian completed 142 laps during his three days of running, while Schumacher's best was a lap of 1m23.85s in the course of 100 laps. Ralf had a couple of spins and problems during his three days with oil leaks and the clutch. The team also ran test driver Ricardo Zonta in the 1998-spec Jordan. The Brazilian completed 80 laps with a best lap of 1m28.49s - the fastest of the 1998 interim cars.

Third quickest in the test was Benetton driver Jean Alesi who did all four days of the test. He completed only 84 laps and set a best on the final day of 1m23.91s. Gerhard Berger did the first three days of the test and completed 150 laps with a fastest time of 1m24.55s. He then handed over the second Benetton to test driver Alexander Wurz, who did 44 laps and set a time of 1m25.45s.

David Coulthard was fourth fastest with a best lap of 1m24.36s but it was not a good test for McLaren. On the first day of testing Mika Hakkinen suffered a mechanical failure at the exit of the high-speed Parabolica corner after only 30 laps and had a big accident which destroyed his car. He did not reappear. Coulthard completed 92 laps while the team's test driver NickÊHeidfeld did 100 laps in the 1998-spec car and around 20 in the current machine.

Ferrari proved to be rather disappointing with Michael Schumacher complaining that the car is not fast enough at Monza. The World Championship leader completed 160 laps of the track with a variety of different engine/chassis combinations, setting his fastest lap of 1m24.43s in the course of a race distance on the final day. Eddie Irvine did a similar number of laps with a best time of 1m24.72s.

Williams did not bother going for fast times during the test, the team contenting itself with development work for 1998 and tire development. Heinz-Harald Frentzen did the first two days of the test, completing 60 laps with a best of 1m24.53s. He then switched into the 1998 development car for the third day and did another 14 laps. Jacques Villeneuve completed 60 laps over two days with a best of 1m25.72s while the team's test driver Jean-Christophe Boullion did two days of 1998 testing, completing 85 laps in the experimental car.

The Prost team was busy for four days with Trulli doing the first two and half of Friday. He completed just over 100 laps with a best of 1m25.32s while Shinji Nakano completed 67 laps during a day and half of running with a fastest lap of 1m25.73s.

Also in action was Sauber which had one car for the test. Herbert did the first two days, completing 150 laps with a best of 1m25.62s and Gianni Morbidelli doing 46 laps in two days with a fastest lap of 1m26.42s.

Tyrrell had both Jos Verstappen and Mika Salo in action: Jos completed 60 laps over three days and Mika did 75. Both drivers recorded best laps in the 1m26s.

Minardi had trouble getting close to such times with Ukyo Katayama's doing 60 laps for a best time of 1m27.76s and TarsoÊMarques trying both a normal car and a new 1998-spec development car.