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Panasonic Toyota Racing - GP of France - Free Practice Round-Up

Grand Prix of France - Free Practice Round-Up

Motorsport
Cristiano da Matta (Car 16, Chassis TF104/04)
First Session Classification: 10th, 5 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m26.757s (+11.270s)
Second Session Classification: 1st, 12 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m15.518s (Fastest)

"Obviously it is nice to finish top of the timesheets in the second session today, but that does not necessarily mean anything. We timed our last run to perfection and went out on a new set of tyres when the track was at its best. Our main objective for today was to carry out the tyre evaluation, which was pretty impossible in the ever-changing wet-dry track conditions. At least we have the two practice sessions tomorrow morning in order to do our back-to-back comparison before we have to make our final decision by noon. A very inconclusive day, really."

Olivier Panis (Car 17, Chassis TF104/03)
First Session Classification: 11th, 4 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m27.449s (+11.962s)
Second Session Classification: 11th, 10 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m17.303s (+1.785s)

"Due to the constantly changing weather conditions it was a quite difficult day for us. However, we tried to concentrate on our programme and hopefully we can find some valuable information from the data in preparation for tomorrow. At the end of the session we decided not to go out any more with a new set of tyres and to set some faster times. Nevertheless I am really happy with the car as it looks quite competitive. It is nice to be back racing in France in front of my home fans and I hope we can give them a good result to celebrate on Sunday. We will get a clearer indication in tomorrow's practice sessions."

Ricardo Zonta (Car 38, Chassis TF104/07)
First Session Classification: 13th, 18 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m29.085s (+13.598s)
Second Session Classification: 15th, 15 laps completed
Lap Time: 1m17.735s (+2.217s)

"We didn't obtain any meaningful results from either of today's practice sessions because the weather conditions were so changeable. My last time of running at Magny-Cours was back in 2000, so I took a few laps in the first session to learn the modifications to the final sector, which are new to me. In the second session, I made a mistake on a dry tyre run. I was carrying too much speed into the third corner and I drove through a large patch of standing water, which appeared to be dry as I was approaching it. This sent me into the gravel trap, but it was easy to get back on track and fortunately we did not lose too much time. Like everyone, the inconsistent track conditions affected our programme a lot today."

Full results on Friday's free practice sessions can be found on Panasonic Toyota Racing's media website www.toyota-f1-media.com