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Montagny quickest as Ferrari V8 shows pace
Renault's Franck Montagny, running a (restricted) V10, topped the timesheets on the first day of testing at the Circuito Jerez de la Frontera today.
However, centre of attention was Marc Gene in the 2004 Ferrari fitted with the V8 power-plant. The Spaniard finished the day second quickest, just 0.219s off Montagny's time.
Gene was joined by Luca Badoer, who was running a 2005 car fitted with a V10 engine modified to conform to the 2006 technical regulations. However, the Italian's day ended early due to a mechanical failure on the right front corner of his car.
Montagny was joined by Heikki Kovalainen. The Frenchman completed a morning of set-up work, developing his work from Barcelona and continuing to make good progress on understanding chassis performance with V8 power. Subsequently, his work focused on tyre testing for Michelin and some brake testing.
The Finn's first test of the winter saw him acclimatize himself to the simulated V8 power levels, prior to beginning working on set-ups. After this, he completed a suspension development programme.
"We had a very good day's testing," said Christian Silk, the team's chief test engineer, "completing more work than we had initially planned for and making good progress with our programmes for the week. Heikki began understanding the demands of running with V8 power, while Franck continued strongly with the programmes he began last week in Barcelona."
Anthony Davidson and James Rossiter were on duty for Honda, both driving 'concept' cars.
Davidson spent the morning working on set-up work for the chassis and the engine, completing 51 laps. He followed this by running through a tyre evaluation programme in the afternoon session.
Rossiter completed a shakedown run in a brand new chassis 078-08, followed by an aero evaluation. He also completed a Michelin tyre programme in the afternoon
Jenson Button will take over from Anthony tomorrow (Thursday), with James continuing in the second car.
Narain Karthikeyan made an impressive debut with WilliamsF1, the Indian finishing fifth quickest, 0.82s off Montagny's pace, and 0.3s ahead of 2006 driver, Nico Rosberg. However, the former Jordan driver was the cause of two red flags, one the result of a spin and the other following a mechanical failure.
"Narain spent some time familiarising himself with the car, carrying out long runs, systems checks and calibration work," said Sam Michael. "Nico concentrated on stabilised temperature runs, mechanical and aero set-ups.
"It was another productive day during which we gained valuable mileage with the mechanical components on the interim FW27C," he added.
McLaren had Pedro de la Rosa on duty, in addition to DTM Champion, Gary Paffett,
Following the Barcelona test last week work continued on development and assessment of the Mercedes-Benz V8 engine and Michelin tyres.
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