FEBRUARY 24, 1997
Prost blitzes Magny-Cours record
PROST GRAND PRIX called off a planned test in Estoril because of the Spanish truck drivers' strike and then canceled a replacement test at Silverstone because bad weather was forecast (a wise decision).
As a result Olivier Panis was only able to run at Magny-Cours and on Monday - after three days of running - Olivier took his Prost-Mugen Honda JS45 around the track in 1m13.25s, half a second faster than Nigel Mansell's lap record at the track, which was set in 1992. The circuit is the same length as it was five years ago but a chicane after the Adelaide Hairpin has been straightened out.
It is nonetheless an impressive lap time given that pole position last July was a 1m15.989s lap by Michael Schumacher. Panis reckoned that the handling of the JS45 was much better than it had been the previous week at Barcelona.
Olivier continued to test until Thursday but as the track was being used for other activities he was only able to run during the lunch breaks. He recorded a lap of 1m13.8s on Thursday.