Sato presses Rubinho at Mugello

AFTER his Formula 3 team mate Anthony Davidson wrecked his BAR on the opening day of testing at Mugello, Japanese ace Takuma Sato, the newly crowned British Formula 3 champion, set the second fastest time of the day at Mugello, hard on the heels of Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello.

The Japanese driver was running in a new specification of Bridgestone tires and was 0.03s slower than the Brazilian by the end of the day, despite causing a few red flag moments along with running mate and race team driver Olivier Panis.

The Frenchman was running a new mechanical power steering system for the first time on his car, rebuilt after Davidson's shunt, and caused two delays when his clutch failed on each occasion. Sato had a spin, and also brought out the red flag on two occasions with electronics problems.

Jean Alesi was plagued with mechanical gremlins on his Jordan while Alex Yoong got some running in before a hectic PR schedule takes over his time prior to his first Grand Prix at Monza next weekend, when he aims to be the first driver from south east Asia to qualify for a Grand Prix since Prince Bira of Siam in the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix.

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