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FEBRUARY 26, 2001

Montoya bids to challenge Ferrari and McLaren ahead of his F1 debut

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA is aiming to challenge the top two teams - Ferrari and McLaren - as he prepares for his debut race in Australia this weekend.

Colombian Montoya, who replaced Jenson Button at BMW-Williams over the winter, is desperate to get on the track at his first Formula One event.

"This team is currently on the crest of a wave and while we may not be contesting for the championship this season, we will certainly be aiming to take some spoils away from Ferrari and McLaren - that's the plan anyway," said Montoya.

"Melbourne cannot come soon enough for me. I have been working hard over the winter and now it's finally time to go racing."

Montoya will be boosted by the fact that his team-mate Ralf Schumacher achieved a third place finish in Melbourne last year. As Montoya looks forward to the first practice on Friday, Schumacher had one word of advice for his colleague.

Schumacher said: "On Friday the surface of the track is very dirty. You have to be careful, not to spin off. But I feel good travelling to Australia because of our ever-improving form."