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Hakkinen tops the times after taking over testing duties at Magny-Cours

Mika Hakkinen topped the times on the final day of pre-French Grand Prix testing at Magny-Cours after taking over the driving duties for McLaren.

Finn Hakkinen powered around the French circuit in one minute and 15.575 seconds to beat the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello (1:15.577) into second place and McLaren test driver Olivier Panis (1:15.610) into third.

Championship leader Michael Schumacher was fourth with a fastest lap of one minute and 15.895, after recovering from a faulty engine and eventual power-unit change.

"I am very happy with the work carried out over the last few days," said Schumacher. "We have managed to make improvements in a few areas on the car. However, we can see from today's performance that it will be a very close fight between McLaren and ourselves."

The Jordans of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli were fifth and sixth fastest respectively, closely followed by the improved performance of Prost's Nick Heidfeld in seventh.

Sauber driver Mika Salo finished the day 10th and insisted that it made a change to drive on a flat surface after the last two races in Monaco and Canada.

"It was nice to drive on a flat circuit," said Salo. "The car has progressed a lot for the grand prix to come and we have completed a full race preparation at this test, from setting up the car to testing the aerodynamic package."

Jaguar had a day of mixed fortunes as Johnny Herbert finished eighth, but Eddie Irvine managed to complete just five laps and finished 17th after suffering mechanical problems for most of the day.

Times after Friday's testing session at Magny-Cours:

1. Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) One minute and 15.575 seconds

2. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) 1:15.577

3. Olivier Panis (McLaren) 1:15.610

4. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1:15.895

5. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan) 1:15.993

6. Jarno Trulli (Jordan) 1:16.059

7. Nick Heidfeld (Prost) 1:16.457

8. Johnny Herbert (Jaguar) 1:16.633

9. Giancarlo Fisichella (Benetton) 1:16.692

10. Mika Salo (Sauber) 1:16.738

11. Ralf Schumacher (Williams) 1:16.805

12. Pedro de la Rosa (Arrows) 1:16.923

13. Alexander Wurz (Benetton) 1:17.099

14. Jenson Button (Williams) 1:17.111

15. Jacques Villeneuve (BAR) 1:17.472

16. Enrique Bernoldi (Sauber) 1:17.662

17. Eddie Irvine (Jaguar) 1:18.991

18. Stephane Sarrazin (Prost) 1:19.043

19. Patrick Lemarie (BAR) 1:19.332

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