Kyalami testing begins with Williams on top

FEBRUARY 8, 2001

Kyalami testing begins with Williams on top

RALF SCHUMACHER demonstrated the potential of the BMW-Williams FW23 when he topped the times on the opening day of testing in Kyalami, South Africa, on Thursday.

The German driver ran 40 laps on the opening day of a six-day test as he posted a quickest lap time of one minute and 21.909 seconds.

"I had a good day today," Schumacher said. "The FW23 is performing better than the FW22 did here last year and it's a good platform for us to develop from. We have five days ahead of us and the weather - unlike last year - looks to be on our side."

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya was over a second slower on his first taste of the track but he said the test gives him the perfect opportunity to prepare for the new season.

"I've spent most of the day familiarizing myself with the track," Montoya said. "Despite a small problem with the gearbox, I managed a good number of laps today.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us over the next few days and I'm pretty fired-up about my first full test program with the 2001 challenger."

British American Racing new-boy Olivier Panis was slowest of the three drivers on duty, over two seconds slower than Schumacher as he completed 33 laps.

Times from day one of testing at Kyalami:

Ralf Schumacher BMW-Williams 1:21.909
Juan Pablo Montoya BMW-Williams 1:22.923
Olivier Panis BAR 1:23.928