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Fisi quickest as title fight shapes up

NEWS STORY
06/10/2006

Ahead of today's second free practice session, the air temperature is 24 degrees C, and the track temperature is 22 degrees. It hasn't rained between the sessions, and therefore, thanks to a strong breeze the track, the track is beginning to dry in places. It remains overcast, but definitely brighter than this morning.

At 14:00, the lights go green, and Franck Montagny, who went off into the gravel this morning, is first out, followed by Ammermuller and Vettel. One by one, the other 'Friday boys' take to the track.

Montagny posts the first time (50.286), but this is soon beaten by Vettel, and then Davidson (46.330).

Six minutes into the session, Jarno Trulli heads down the pitlane, followed by Sato.

Davidson improves with a 45.393, ahead of Wurz, Sutil and Ammermuller. It's still damp out there, with the cars throwing up the odd 'rooster tail', however, we should have a 'dry line' before too long.

Ralf Schumacher goes quickest in the first sector, indeed he's over a second up on Davidson at the second split. He crosses the line at 1:44.418, but Davidson immediately goes quicker (43.881).

As Trulli begins his hot lap, Ralf takes the top spot with a 1:43.516, Vettel goes fourth ahead of Vettel, Jani and Doornbos.

Twelve minutes into the session, Felipe Massa heads down the pitlane. The Brazilian goes third (44.779), albeit 1.263s off Ralf's pace. Next time around the Ferrari star improves, but it's minimal.

As Davidson improves to 1:42.382, both Toro Rossos head down the pitlane.

Nico Rosberg leaves the pits, as teammate Wurz locks up 'big time'.

Davidson, Ralf, Ammermuller, Wurz, Massa, Vettel, Sutil, Trulli, Jani and Sato.

A 43.712 sees Jarno Trulli improve to third, as David Coulthard leaves the pits. Meanwhile, Ralf closes to within 0.047s of the top spot.

Rosberg goes tenth (45.235), as Fisichella leaves the pits. In the Ferrari garage, Michael Schumacher, who has yet to make an appearance today, climbs out of his car.

Fisi goes quickest on his very first flying lap, crossing the line at 1:42.064, that's 0.318s up on Davidson.

With twenty-five minutes remaining, there are just two drivers on track, Wurz and Jani, however, they are joined by Barrichello and World Championship challenger, Michael Schumacher. Button leaves the Honda pit a few moments later.

At the end of his first lap, Michael heads back to the pits but drives straight through, in order to make a practice start at the end of the pitlane.

Rubens Barrichello goes fourth (42.684), but Davidson is already on a hot lap, having gone quickest in the first two sectors. Sure enough, the Englishman improves to 40.986.

Next time around, Davidson gets well out of shape at 130R, but somehow keeps it all together. Alonso sits in his car watching his monitor, the Spaniard showing no sign of going out.

Sixteen minutes remaining and there are nineteen names on the timesheet. Davidson is quickest, ahead of Fisichella, Vettel, Ralf, Barrichello, Jani, Trulli and Sutil. That said, Ammermuller is on a quick lap.

Sure enough, the German goes quickest, crossing the line at 1:40.304. Meanwhile, Sutil stops in the second sector, bringing out the yellow flags.

Ammermuller improves to 39.373, then, despite looking as though he's about to take a huge chunk out of his best time, heads back to the pits. This is the (apparent) signal for Michael to head down the pitlane.

With a distinct 'dry line', Schumacher begins a flying lap, immediately going quickest in the first sector. He passes a Honda on the back straight, while going quickest in the second sector. At the line it's 37.744, that's 1.629s quicker than Ammermuller.

As the German improves by a full 0.8s in the first sector of his next lap, more and more drivers begin heading down the pitlane, including Alonso.

Davidson goes quickest, and Vettel goes second, but Schumacher soon restore the order, posting a 35.599.

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