AUGUST 3, 2000

Panis demonstrates ability in Valencia testing

MCLAREN test driver Olivier Panis stepped up his quest for a drive in the 2001 Formula One World Championship as he topped the times in the opening day of testing in Valencia, Spain.

Panis, who is being linked with a move to British American Racing to partner Jacques Villeneuve, outpaced Mika Hakkinen to top the times with a lap time of one minute and 15.896 seconds.

McLaren, joined by Jaguar, Benetton, Arrows, Sauber and Williams, dominated proceedings as Hakkinen finished second quickest -- eight-tenths-of-a-second behind Panis.

Luciano Burti, Jaguar's test driver, was third quickest of the day but was almost two seconds slower than Frenchman Panis with Benetton duo Alexander Wurz and Giancarlo Fisichella in fourth and fifth respectively.

Arrows's Pedro de la Rosa, fresh from his sixth-placed finish in Germany, ended the day sixth quickest with Brazilian Pedro Diniz and BMW-Williams' Jenson Button behind him.

Diniz, who was unhappy at losing track time because of an oil leak, said. "I'm a bit frustrated because of the track time we lost today, trying to find the origin of a small oil leak.

"Once the team discovered where the oil leak came from we made a lot of progress on our aerodynamic configuration for the race in Hungary."

Times from Thursday's testing at Valencia:

Olivier Panis McLaren 1:15.896
Mika Hakkinen McLaren  1:16.663
Luciano Burti Jaguar 1:17.879
Alexander Wurz Benetton 1:17.920
Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton 1:18.151
Pedro de la Rosa Arrows 1:18.487
Pedro Diniz Sauber 1:18.739
Jenson Button BMW-Williams 1:19.038