Frentzen fastest in Valencia

TESTING continued at the Valencia circuit in Spain Thursday, where Heinz-Harald Frentzen set the fastest time of the day while working to develop the Cosworth-powered Arrows A23. Frentzen completed just over 40 laps in the morning before handing the car over to International F3000 championship points leader Stephane Bourdais in the afternoon.

Bourdais is under contract from Renault, but with too many drivers fighting over the two Renault F1 seats already, the young Frenchman is looking at other routes into F1. During his first outing behind the wheel of an F1 car, Bourdais completed 25 laps, setting a best time three seconds off Frentzen's best time of the day.

Giancarlo Fisichella was behind the wheel for Jordan Thursday. The Italian was the second fastest driver on the day, outpacing Fernando Alonso in the Renault R202 by about half a second. Alonso tested a new specification engine as well as conducting a tire program for Michelin.

Felipe Massa took over Sauber's testing duties from teammate Nick Heidfeld, who was behind the wheel Tuesday and Wednesday. Massa lapped the Spanish circuit over 100 times, conducting aerodynamic, brake and traction control tests. "I am happy to have done so much running today," said the Brazilian. "It feels as if we have tried every conceivable configuration on the car. Certainly the work we have done at this test has enabled to improve it for the French Grand Prix. I am looking forward to the race in Magny-Cours next week."

Marc Gene also continued Williams' testing program in Spain. He was fifth fastest on the day.

Most of the teams will wrap up testing before the summer holiday on Friday.

VALENCIA TEST - THURSDAY, 11 JULY 2002

POS

DRIVER ENTRANT TIME

1.

HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN Arrows-Cosworth 1:12.505

2.

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Jordan-Honda 1:12.795

3.

FERNANDO ALONSO Renault 1:13.260

4.

FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas 1:13.715

5.

MARC GENE Williams-BMW 1:14.065

6.

STEPHANE BOURDAIS Arrows-Cosworth 1:15.719

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