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Editor/Photographer : Mark Charles


August 27 2004

Belgian Grand Prix - Practice

Weather: Dry Track Temp: 15-22 degrees Air temp: 16-18 degrees

After a year’s absence the Jaguar Racing team returned today to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes hills in Belgium to compete in Friday’s free practice. Despite the threat of rain throughout the day the team managed to cover over two-race distances during both the morning and afternoon sessions in dry conditions. All three drivers enjoyed an error-free day while making the most of one of the fastest circuits on the F1 calendar. Mark Webber, who turned 28 today, Christian Klien (21) and Bjorn Wirdheim (24) posted some impressive times during the morning session, with all three being in the top eight. In this afternoon sessions they finished 13th, 16th, and 19th respectively.

Mark Webber
Position: 13th Best time: 1:46.471 Chassis: R5- 05
It’s a fantastic track here and I am really pleased to be back and behind the wheel of the R5. The session this morning was excellent and I managed to do quite a lot of laps while working through a race set-up and tyre programme. With the threat of rain always an issue here it was important to get as much dry running as possible. As it happened we were actually fortunate and it remained dry all day giving us a really good amount of information on tyres and set-up. I find this track very challenging and I am already keen to get back out tomorrow, one thing is for sure, Sunday’s race is going to be interesting.

Christian Klien
Position: 16th Best time: 1:47.370 Chassis: R5- 01
I had a good day today and I was really enjoying being out on track in the R5. The circuit is just amazing and the speed is exhilarating. My first session this morning was very productive as we worked through a full programme of tyre testing and race set-up. I managed a good number of laps in the morning session and then another eight this afternoon. We have some good data going into tomorrow and hopefully we will be able to make a good tyre choice.

Björn Wirdheim
Position: 19th Best time: 1:48.345 Chassis: R5- 02
The session went really well for us today and for me to have completed 43 laps in total is fantastic for the team going into tomorrow. The team now has a lot of data on dry running and this will help us in making our tyre choice ahead of qualifying. I love this track and it is really exciting to drive here. The F1 car feels amazing round here and I am pleased with our progress to date. I finished fourth in the time sheets this morning and the car was feeling really good, so I am very happy.

Dr Mark Gillan
Head of Vehicle Performance
Today has been a good productive day all round for the team. We sent our drivers out this morning with a very comprehensive programme to work through and they not only worked to it but they all finished in the top eight in the time-sheet. Bjorn was focusing today on engine endurance work and tyre performances. We now have lots of tyre information for the weekend that will help us immensely. Both Mark and Christian did some good laps while working on their race analysis and tyre preparation over both sessions. As we expected the track was quite green today but this has improved and will continue to do so. The reliability of the cars today continues to be good, the R5 seems to be well-balanced and I feel that we are well prepared for the weekend. Our focus is now on qualifying and the race on Sunday which given the changeable weather could be exciting.


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