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Franchitti stars at Silverstone as Panis tops the times

SCOT Dario Franchitti made his first appearance in a Jaguar Formula One car in testing at Silverstone on Tuesday, but it was McLaren test driver Olivier Panis who topped the times.

Franchitti, who was handed the chance to test with the Milton Keynes-based team as speculation mounts over the future of Johnny Herbert, ended the day 10th fastest but proved he could handle life in the F1 fast-lane following his first drive on grooved tyres.

The Kool Green Honda Champ Car driver produced a quickest lap time of one minute and 28.409 seconds at the Northamptonshire circuit, but trailed Panis by over three seconds.

Panis ousted team-mate David Coulthard out by four-tenths of a second when clocking the fastest time of one minute and 25.204 seconds.

British American Racing's Ricardo Zonta finished third quickest, over one second down on the McLaren duo, with Benetton's Giancarlo Fisichello, Sauber's Mika Salo and Jarno Trulli, of Jordan, behind him.

Jaguar's test driver Luciano Burti, who made an impressive grand prix debut in Austria last weekend, endured a disappointing day after crashing out in the afternoon session.

Austrian Alexander Wurz failed to prove his pace to Benetton bosses as he trailed Panis by 2.378 seconds in eighth place. He was marginally quicker than BAR test driver Patrick LeMarie.

BMW-Williams' Ralf Schumacher failed to shake off the problems he encountered in Austria as he ended the day slowest out of the 11 drivers. The German was almost four seconds off the pace with a quickest lap time of 1:28.956 seconds.

Schumacher said that his slow time was because the team were focussing on a set-up for the German Grand Prix.

"I'm actually quite pleased with the miles we completed," said Schumacher. "We also focused on a set-up for the next race at Hockenheim and that explains my time being bottom of the sheet."

Times after Tuesday's testing at Silverstone:

POS DRIVER ENTRANT TIME
Olivier Panis McLaren 1:25.204
David Coulthard  McLaren  1:25.637 
Ricardo Zonta  BAR  1:26.665 
Giancarlo Fisichella  Benetton  1:26.801 
Mika Salo  Sauber  1:26.852 
Jarno Trulli  Jordan  1:26.885 
Luciano Burti  Jaguar  1:27.403 
Alexander Wurz  Benetton  1:27.582 
Patrick Lemarie  BAR  1:27.908 
10  Dario Franchitti Jaguar  1:28.409 
11  Ralf Schumacher  Williams  1:28.956 

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