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Coulthard pulls a surprise at Barcelona (with pictures)

NEWS STORY
14/02/2007

Now we could be extremely sceptical and suggest that Red Bull's sudden discovery of pace today has more to do with the arrival of (company boss) Dietrich Mateschitz, rather than the engineers and David Coulthard finding that little bit extra. However, we wouldn't be so bold.

Nonetheless, the fact ius that the Scottish veteran has ended the three day Barcelona test, for many teams the final European test before the season gets underway, on a real high, by outpacing the usual front-runners and completing 115 laps.

Weather-wise it was funny day, exceedingly cool, if not a little chilly, and overcast, for much of the morning, giving way to bright sunshine in the late afternoon. However, despite the sun's best efforts a strong breeze kept temperatures cool.

Once again the action was punctuated by red flag periods including one less than twenty minutes before the end of the day. However, once the car (Massa) had been removed from the track a number of drivers returned to work, even though there was less than eight minutes remaining.

Despite Coulthard topping the timesheets, its was far from a trouble free day for the Milton Keyne's based outfit. The Scot suffered an engine problem in the morning, while teammate Mark Webber was the cause of two red flags, one of them the result of a drive chain problem.

However, after its poor form in testing thus far, today's result was a much needed fillip for the team, and will gave gone a little way to convincing Dietrich Mateschitz that 2007 could see a change in fortune for his team. Or rather, one of his teams.

"We are very pleased with the way this three day test has gone," said Head of Race and Test Engineering, Paul Monaghan. "And yes, it's nice to see David is quickest, at least for today, but more impressive is the fact he completed 116 laps."

Referring to Webber's problems, Monaghan said: "We are confident we can get on top of that.

"We can be happy with the mileage we have completed over the three days," he added, "and also with the fact that our relationship with Renault and Bridgestone continues to improve, as has the overall performance and reliability of the car."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was second quickest, completing 92 laps. Other than the stoppage at the endo f the days it was a trouble-free session for the Brazilian. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished seventh quickest, 0.5s off the pace.

Both drivers had done sufficient laps by the end of the morning to complete the duty cycle forecast for their engines in accordance with the new regulations. In addition, they also tried out various set-up changes on the F2007.

Although excitement is building ahead of the new season, it was retired champion Michael Schumacher who appeared to be attracting much of the attention today. The Ferrari legend was in the news following claims in Germany that he is being groomed for the role of team boss, and his surprise visit to the Barcelona track today will only add to the speculation.

Arriving in a Lilac (Purple?) T-Shirt, he had soon changed into the requisite Ferrari colours, joining members of the team on the pitwall to watch the proceedings.

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