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Fisichella Targets Bmw at Magny-cours

Giancarlo Fisichella believes it is not only important for Renault to score points in France this weekend but also to beat BMW Sauber. The two teams are locked in a tight fight for third place in this year's Constructors' Championship, which, at present, the German company is winning.

After a sluggish start to the season, Renault have just 25 points from seven races, while BMW Sauber have flaunted 39, which include eight from Nick Heidfeld's Canadian GP podium result. However, Fisichella is confident that Renault are closing in on their rivals and reckons they can push the German team to third place in the teams' battle.

Asked what he's expecting from the Magny-Cours race, Fisichella said: "Firstly, to score more points, that's a priority. After that, we have to race with BMW and try to beat them. They are the team we are fighting in the Championship, and we have to try and out-score them in each race from now on. It's not going to be easy, but we know that our car is improving all the time, we are making steps forward, and the motivation is there to do the job. I can't wait to get out on track and start working."

Fisichella's team-mate, Heikki Kovalainen, is also expecting an improved performance in France, believing that Renault have taken a significant step forward during recent races and testing. "I think we made another step with the car last week at Silverstone, so I am looking forward to getting out there on Friday, and seeing how things stack up," the Kovalainen said. "We got the maximum out of our package in Indy. We have to do the same again this weekend."

Formula One champions Renault said that they have turned the tide after a poor start to the season and expect to be more competitive at Magny Cours. Renault scored as many points in the last two races in Montreal and Indianapolis as third-placed BMW Sauber.

However, engineering head Pat Symonds said on Monday the trend was still positive for Renault. "I think it's indicative of the fact the tide is turning, we are very close to BMW now and racing them hard," he said in a team preview for the France Grand Prix. "Without a doubt we have upped our game and pulled out of the midfield bunch we were in, to stand on top of it, and there's still more to come."

"We take a lot of comfort from the fact that after a poor start to the year, we are pulling it back so rapidly," added Symonds. "Other teams are not having a great season and not pulling it back as we are. There is plenty to be proud of in what we are doing." Renault has not had a driver on the podium since world champion Fernando Alonso's departure to McLaren at the end of 2006.

McLaren's on the lead with 106 and Ferrari second with 71 points. Renault is fourth in the constructors' championship with 25 points to BMW Sauber's 39. Guided by reliable race parts and the BMW timing chain, the team is aiming high. However, Renault's Kovalainen was fourth in Canada and fifth in Indianapolis while Fisichella was fourth in Monaco. Now, that makes the competition even hotter.

Symonds said that there is more to come in France and at Silverstone the weekend after that. "As we better understand the problems we have been suffering from, we are able to improve the car," he said. "There are a lot of new bits coming for the car, and you can be certain we will keep on fighting."

About The Author Anthony Fontanelle is a 35-year-old automotive buff who grew up in the Windy City. He does freelance work for an automotive magazine when he is not busy customizing cars in his shop.
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