The impressive Pizzonia

AFTER a certain amount of negotiation, the young Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia finally had his first runs for Benetton last week in Valencia, Spain, and the 19-year-old was immediately impressive, recording a best time on his first day which was less than a second slower than Giancarlo Fisichella. It should be noted, however, that Fisichella did only a few laps that day before his accident with Trulli ended the test early. Twenty-one year old Italian Giorgio Pantano continued his test for the team and was only a couple of tenths slower than Pizzonia which is a remarkable effort when you consider that he has only done 10 car races in his life.

Pizzonia has less experience in karting than Pantano but he has been car racing since the end of 1996. He has enjoyed considerable success in the junior formulae and was immediately successful in the British Formula 3 series this year. Pantano has done only a few odd races before he started in German Formula 3 this year with a victory.

Also showing well in testing at Valencia was another Brazilian, Sauber's test driver Enrique Bernoldi who is racing this year for the Red Bull Junior Team in Formula 3000, under the guidance of former Grand Prix driver Helmut Marko.

Pantano, incidentally, is being guided in his career by former Team Lotus boss Peter Collins, although Jarno Trulli is also keeping a watchful eye on his fellow countryman.

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