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Montoya steals BAR's thunder

NEWS STORY
19/01/2005

Juan Pablo Montoya, driving the 2004 McLaren, stole the headlines at Valencia, as Jenson Button drove the new BAR 007 in anger for the first time.

Montoya, who is only on duty today, with Alexander Wurz driving on Thursday and Friday, completed 97 laps of the Spanish track, posting a best time of, 1:11.293.

Hot on his heels was Franck Montagny, who is joined tomorrow by Fernando Alonso.

The Frenchman focused almost entirely on tyre testing, conducting the usual range of performance evaluations on new constructions and compounds. A smaller number of these tyres will then be tested tomorrow over longer distances.

"Today, we began what has become the normal tyre evaluation process for 2005 specification tyres," said chief test engineer, Christian Silk. "Our performance runs yielded promising results, with further steps forward in the compounds and constructions, and we will continue our work with longer distance running tomorrow."

Third quickest, 0.916s down - but running a full 2005 car - was Button, who (significantly) out-paced teammate Takuma Sato, who was running the 2004 'concept' car. However, it wasn't a trouble-free day for the Brackley outfit, with both drivers encountering mechanical problems, including - in Button's case - an engine failure.

Splitting the two Lucky Strike cars was Jacques Villeneuve, who like former teammate Button, was running a 2005 car. The Canadian completed 92 laps and ended the day just 0.018s behind his former teammate.

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