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Kovalainen goes quickest at Valencia (with pictures)

NEWS STORY
28/02/2006

Heikki Kovalainen - seen here beginning Renault's last lap of pre-season testing before the 2006 season begins - posted the fastest lap of the day at Valencia today, though Honda's Anthony Davidson was hot on his heels, finishing just 0.094s off the Finn's pace.

After more than a month's testing in Spain, Renault today completed its winter programme ahead of the start of the 2006 season in Bahrain, in just over a week's time.

Kovalainen was at the wheel to conclude the team's 2006 winter programme. It was a productive day, as the Finn completed a 123 lap programme, and was pleased with his performance. His running consisted of ten medium distance runs, conducting tyre testing for Michelin.

"This was a very good final day of testing," said Christian Silk. "The car was running well, and we completed a major tyre development programme, which means we can go to the first races in good shape. Heikki did a great job again today, and gave us very good feedback on our work. The team is really pleased with the work we have done so far. We have made good progress, and everybody has worked extremely hard to be as ready as possible for the start of the season. It is important to say a big thank-you to every member of the test team for the hard work they have done over the last eight weeks."

While Jenson Button was on PR duty at the Geneva Motor Show, Honda's testing duties fell to Anthony Davidson, who racked up an impressive 146 laps (363 miles).

The Englishman had a productive morning starting with early set-up runs before beginning a tyre evaluation programme. He went back out after the circuit lunch break to finish the tyre evaluation, followed by a second tyre programme evaluating options for the forthcoming races.

Kimi took over driving duties of the MP4-21 from Pedro de la Rosa, who continued the Michelin tyre development programme in the MP4-20 alongside the Finn.

Kimi's work began in earnest in the afternoon, his work focussing on working through different set ups and tyre choices with his race engineers. During the morning a hydraulic problem was detected, delaying his programme for the day.

Pedro covered over 430km as he concentrated on the Michelin tyre selection for the third race of the season in Melbourne.

McLaren will conclude its test at the Valencia circuit tomorrow, with Kimi and Pedro remaining on track for the final day.

Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg continued for WilliamsF1, as the British team approaches the end of its pre-season test schedule.

"Today's session was the last day of testing for our race drivers before the race season starts in Bahrain," revealed Sam Michael. "Mark and Nico both worked on tyre testing, while Nico also did some brake cooling work.

"We had a small problem with the gearbox on Mark's car which was the only hindrance as it cost us some downtime during the day. Alex will drive tomorrow to conclude our winter testing programme."

Tomorrow (Wednesday), sees Toyota and Red Bull join the test.

Weather
Air temperature: 8-16 C
Track temperature: 9-24 C
Sunny and clear, but cold

To check out our Valencia test gallery, click here

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