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Final European testing

THE major F1 teams have been busy testing in preparation for the final two races of the season in Malaysia and Japan. McLaren, Jordan, Williams, Benetton, Stewart, Sauber, Prost and BAR were all in action at Barcelona where David Coulthard ended the three-day test with the fastest time with a best lap of 1m21.92s after 176 laps of the track, Mika Hakkinen was second quickest with a 1m22.07s after completing 77 laps during his two days of running.

Third quickest was Johnny Herbert in his Stewart-Ford. The Englishman was Stewart's only representative at Barcelona and completed 159 laps to record a best of 1m22.16s.

Williams ran one car for three days with Alex Zanardi running on the first two and then Ralf Schumacher taking over. Zanardi completed 126 laps with a best of 1m23.50s while Schumacher did 34 laps and was slightly slower.

Benetton ran two cars on all three days with Alexander Wurz doing the whole test and Giancarlo Fisichella doing two days. The Austrian driver completed 133 laps with a best of 1m23.86s while Fisichella's 70 laps netted him a 1m24.11s. Benetton test driver Laurent Redon briefly drove the second car but completed only three shakedown laps.

Sauber ran on only two days with Pedro Diniz back in action after his crash at the Nurburgring. He completed 117 laps with a best of 1m23.79s while Prost Grand Prix ran only one car with next year's driver Nick Heidfeld, the German completing 103 laps for a best of 1m24.546s during his three days of testing. British American Racing was also present with test driver Patrick Lemarie but he could do no better than a 1m25.55s after 90 laps.

At the A1 Ring, in Austria, BMW's test team did the first runs with the Williams-BMW FW21B test car, the first test which has taken place away from the BMW testing facility at Miramas. No details of the test were revealed after the first day.

In Italy Ferrari was very busy with Michael Schumacher in action on Monday at Mugello. He completed 68 laps - including one spin into the barriers. The action then moved to Fiorano where Irvine ran for three days, completing 185 laps of the track before setting off to fly to Malaysia. Michael Schumacher then took over the testing and did 58 laps on Thursday and another 77 on Friday - some of the running on an artificially wet circuit.

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