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Estoril test suffers after damp day

TUESDAY's test at the Estoril circuit for the Michelin tire teams was thwarted by wet weather.

Michelin sent out a tanker to dampen the Portuguese circuit in the morning and allow Benetton, BMW-Williams and Jaguar to test their new Michelin tires in the wet. But a heavy downpour shortly after left the tanker redundant and the track too wet to run.

BMW-Williams driver Ralf Schumacher only managed to complete 18 laps but he did top the times with a quickest lap of one minute and 31.095 seconds.

Schumacher also suffered a recurrence of his flu virus and had to abandon testing at lunchtime.

"I wasn't feeling 100 per cent before my arrival in Estoril, but I thought it was worth giving it a go," said Schumacher. "The cold and windy weather certainly didn't help things, but it became apparent quite soon that I had underestimated the severity of my flu virus.

"I consulted the team doctor at lunchtime and as a precautionary measure, I have been advised to go home and rest over the Christmas period."

Schumacher's new team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya was second fastest on the day in his first drive at Estoril in an F1 car, while the team's test-driver Marc Gene was the slowest driver on track.

Jenson Button continued his work with Benetton and posted the third quickest time and completed 36 laps.

Briton Button was fractionally quicker than compatriot and Jaguar driver Eddie Irvine and his Jaguar team-mate Luciano Burti.

Times after Tuesday's testing at Estoril:

POS DRIVER ENTRANT TIME
Ralf Schumacher BMW-Williams 1:31.095
Juan Pablo Montoya BMW-Williams 1:31.901
Jenson Button Benetton 1:31.984
Eddie Irvine Jaguar 1:32.116
Luciano Burti Jaguar 1:32.539
Marc Gene BMW-Williams 1:33.042

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