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The European Grand Prix, second event in the World Championship taking place in Spain, got underway today at the Valencia Street Circuit with the first 90 minutes of practice sessions. Narain Karthikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa had a good rhythm and, whilst the Indian driver worked with both options of tyres, de la Rosa was only able to test the medium tyres, leaving the softs for tomorrow. Street circuits are spectacular but unforgiving and today Pedro de la Rosa learned that the hard way when he went long on his 12th lap and crashed into the wall on turn 14. Despite the blow, the driver is in perfect condition and the mechanics are already working to have his car as good as new for tomorrow.
Today's practice confirmed that brake cooling is going to be a key factor but the team still has tomorrow to optimize this to try and get both cars over the finish line in front of the home fans.
Pedro de la Rosa: "In the first session our weakest point was braking, as we were blocking the front and rear tyres. We improved notably in the afternoon after making some changes and you could feel it straight away. The session was going well but I made a mistake and went off track which, unfortunately, damaged the entire front suspension. My session ended there and we were unable to test neither the soft tyres nor many things which we had in mind but I'm keeping the positive aspect which is that we improved the car. I'm well and my mechanics are already repairing the car. They're extraordinary professionals and tomorrow everything will be ready again to give it our best go once more in front of our home fans."
Narain Karthikeyan: "In the morning the track was very dirty because it hadn't been used yet, so we just did some running and some work on the set-up and weight distribution of the car. In the afternoon we tried a few other things as the track was in better condition but we struggled to get the option tyres hot for the quick lap, so we have to work on that to try and get the most out of them for tomorrow's qualifying. Other than that it was a good day and tomorrow we must look to build on this and find that long-desired good performance in qualifying."
Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "Overall it was a positive day; in the morning we were around and about the 104% and in the afternoon, after adjusting the balance of the car, the feeling improved. Narain, with a full deposit, had a very good rhythm and the car held out well, however he was unable to get the most out of the soft tyres. Pedro had an accident before switching to softs but fortunately it wasn't too severe so tomorrow we will try to make up for lost time. Today we focused on the race and tomorrow we will work with qualifying in mind."
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