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Davidson sizzles in Spain (with pictures)

NEWS STORY
02/03/2006

Anthony Davidson wrapped up Honda's pre-season preparations in fine style today by posting the fastest time of the year, indeed the fastest time ever, at the Valencia track.

The Englishman took 0.462s off the previous unofficial lap record (Raikkonen), lapping the Spanish track in 68.543 seconds.

Davidson, who has been on duty for all three days of this week's test, the Japanese team's sole representative, concentrated on final race preparations, including comprehensive tyre evaluations with Michelin, using the latest specification RA806E engine.

"It's been another really good test this week and we were able to cover lots of miles every day," said the Englishman. "We focused mainly on tyre evaluations but also did some set-up work which found improvements on the aero and mechanical set-up of the car. The car feels good and it has been generally fast and well-balanced all week.

"It was great to finish off the long winter testing season by breaking the unofficial lap record today!" he added. "We're all looking forward to Bahrain now, I think we'll be strong there and I can't wait to get back to driving on Fridays again."

"A very pleasing way to end the winter testing programme," added Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Racing's Engineering Director. "The Bahrain specification engine ran well with its final refinements, and we are ready to race."

Second quickest, 1.831s off Davidson's pace, was David Coulthard in the Red Bull RBR2. The morning went well, with the Scot running through an aero programme and doing general set-up work. The emphasis then switched to tyre testing combined with longer runs.

"Unfortunately, on the first of these runs, the car suffered an engine problem and David spun on his own oil," explained Chief Test Engineer, Ian Morgan. "We therefore lost some time in the afternoon, fitting a new engine, but after that we had a productive time. The car's actual pace seems pretty good, as David put in some quick laps late in the day, even though by then it was very windy."

The two Toyota's, driver by Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli, were both over 3.5s off the pace.

"Today we worked on tyre balance set-ups and some race test items," said the German. "After having pushed hard the whole day, we made it through all the test items so that we could end the day early.

"At the moment everything is running positively and as planned," he added. "We can be happy with the achievement that we have made until now. The car is performing well and we will see in Bahrain if we really are heading in the right direction.

"After all this testing in winter, I feel that we are ready and I am rather optimistic, but as I have said before it is difficult to see where we stand in comparison to everyone else. The car is consistent and reliable, I feel good driving it, and now I will head to Bahrain on Wednesday, where the season will finally get underway."

"This was our final chance to make preparations for the first race, like testing slow safety car and formation laps," added his Italian teammate. "We feel that we are ready for the first race, but it is difficult to say how competitive we are."

This was the final day of testing at Valencia, and for everyone bar Ferrari, which continues at Mugello, the next time the cars appear is at Bahrain.

To check out our Valencia test gallery, with over 130 images, click here

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