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JULY 17, 2001

Courtney impresses in Monza test

AUSTRALIA's young racing talent James Courtney has turned in an outstanding Formula 1 debut in his first appearance for Jaguar Racing's senior squad in the pre-Hockenheim test at Monza.

The only driver to have taken world karting titles at both junior and senior level and reigning British Formula Ford champion has led Jaguar's junior team in the British Formula 3 championship this season and remains in the thick of the battle for the 2001 title.

In the morning session Courtney put in 14 laps, working his way down to a time of 1m 28.779s - just one tenth of a second off the experienced McLaren test driver Darren Turner in the MP4/16 that dominated this weekend's British Grand Prix.

"The car's amazing," said the youngster. "I'm obviously not going for a time, your first time out in the car's no time for hero stuff and anyway we had a bit of a problem getting the front end of the car dialled in but that's sorted and I'm hoping to get some more time in the afternoon session."

The morning running was curtailed after a major shunt involving Michael Schumacher's Ferrari which meant that the guard rails at the Seconda Variante had to be rebuilt. Schumacher was passed fit after a medical check-up and flew home to Geneva after setting the fastest time of the morning.