Panis upstages Schumacher in Barcelona test

BRITISH AMERICAN RACING test driver Olivier Panis upstaged Michael Schumacher as the Frenchman pipped the German three-time world champion to the fastest time in testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona on Thursday.

Panis was more than half a second quicker than Schumacher, testing for the third day in succession since his return from a leg operation in November.

Schumacher continued work on the electronics on his Ferrari and his Bridgestone tires and completed almost eight hours of work at the Spanish circuit.

"We have worked a lot on the tires, especially with a view to the first two races of the season," said Schumacher.

"Bridgestone are supplying us with very good tires and on top of that we tried a few traction control solutions."

Dutchman Jos Verstappen was third quickest in his Arrows, ahead of the Jordan of Jarno Trulli. Briton Darren Manning was fifth quickest in the second BAR with local driver Marc Gene sixth in his Williams.

Ferrari will now halt testing until after their launch on Monday, and will return to test the F1-2000 in Barcelona on February 1.

Times after Thursday's test at Barcelona:

Olivier Panis BAR 1:20.787
Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:21.340
Jos Verstappen Arrows 1:21.719
Jarno Trulli Jordan 1:21.899
Darren Manning BAR 1:22.093
Marc Gene Williams 1:22.840

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