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Rosberg quickest on day one at Valencia (with pictures)

NEWS STORY
27/02/2006

Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets at Valencia today, as the final pre-season test of 2006 got underway.

The German, who completed 85 laps, was joined by Mark Webber, who finished just 0.342s off the pace, having completed 67 laps.

"The track was damp and cold this morning, but it cleared up for the afternoon," said Sam Michael. "During the course of the day, Mark tested tyres for Bridgestone to finalise our choice for the initial races, while Nico spent the time working on mechanical set-up."

McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa was joined by Gary Paffett, the Spaniard at the wheel of an MP4-21 and the Englishman a V10 powered MP4-20.

The emphasis of the Spaniard's work was long runs for both engine and tyre work, as he completed over 580km in the MP4-21. During the morning the track was damp, which provided the opportunity to run intermediate tyres and conduct development work with Michelin. Pedro switched to dry tyres as the circuit conditions improved and continued putting in a number of stints over the 20 lap mark. Pedro's quickest time of the day, a 1:11.238, put him in second position on the timesheets.

Paffett continued the Michelin tyre testing, which has been his main focus of the winter testing. As a result of the damp track in the morning, the Englishman only covered 10 laps, with the majority of his 71 laps taking place during the afternoon as his programme required a dry track.

Today was Paffett's only day at the test, with Kimi Raikkonen joining Pedro on track tomorrow. Kimi will continue the programme with the MP4-21, which is one of the chassis's that will go to Bahrain, with Pedro switching to the MP4-20.

Heikki Kovalainen was Renault's sole representative, the Finn running an R26.

The objective for the day was to cover a race distance and continue tyre development. However, the team suffered mechanical problems with the car at lunchtime, which cost valuable track time. Heikki was able to run several more laps at the end of the day to check the systems were working correctly, in preparation for tomorrow's work - which the team hopes will be a more productive day.

"It was a tough day for us because of the mechanical problems," admitted Christian silk. "We fixed them, but our programme was disrupted because of it. However, the main thing for us is to be ready for Bahrain, and finding and solving these problems is very important for our preparation.

"Heikki had a very good day, and didn't make any mistakes in spite of difficult circuit conditions. We didn't do many laps, which makes it difficult for the driver to find his rhythm. But this means tomorrow will definitely be a very busy day!"

Tomorrow (Tuesday), Honda begins testing.

Weather
Air temperature: 6-16 C
Track temperature: 8-22 C
Cold and sunny

To check out our Valencia test gallery, click here

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