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Coulthard tops timesheets on final day at Barcelona

NEWS STORY
03/05/2007

Red Bull's David Coulthard topped the timesheets on the final day of testing at Barcelona, as the Spanish test was once disrupted by rain showers.

Although conditions were almost ideal in the morning, after lunch, persistent rain meant that nobody improved on the times set in the morning, indeed with conditions showing no signs of improving the teams opted to pack up one hour ahead of schedule.

Although Coulthard's hot lap comes at a time when the Red Bull is showing signs of improvement, it should be taken with a pinch of salt. Other than the fact that the rain meant that nobody was able to post a valid time in the afternoon, it should also be noted that the Scot's time was set on a single hot lap, and not part of a long run.

Nonetheless, when one notes that Mark Webber was second quickest on Wednesday, it gives Red Bull encouragement as it attempts to fight its way up the F1 pecking order against the more established teams.

"A productive four days prior to the start of the European season," said Chief Test Engineer, Ian Morgan. "It's always good to produce quick lap times and to be fastest, but let's wait and see how the situation evolves when we come back here for the race in two weekends' time."

Second quickest was Pedro de la Rosa (above), in the McLaren. The Spaniard, who was in action here on Monday, returned to the Circuit de Catalunya today to complete the on track development programme in the build-up to next week's Grand Prix.

de la Rosa stopped out on track this morning, the result of a gearbox problem, as the team continued evaluating aerodynamic parts including its new front wing. The Spaniard's best time was 0.201s shy of Coulthard's.

"It was good to get back in the car this week," said Fernando Alonso, ahead of his home race here next weekend. "On Tuesday there were difficulties with the weather, so we lost a little bit of track time on that day, but on the other three days we managed to cover a lot of mileage. We were looking at how the car has improved from the last race to now, looking at the developments and checking everything is ok and we completed what we needed to do. So I am happy with how the car is doing, and now we will have to wait and see in the race here next weekend."

Having dominated proceedings yesterday, today was not entirely trouble free for Felipe Massa, the Brazilian suffering a fuel pump failure shortly after the session got underway. Consequently, the Brazilian was unable to get in much dry running, completing just under thirty laps, as he concentrated on finding the best set-up for the F2007. In the afternoon, the Ferrari driver ran in the wet to work on the balance of the car under these track conditions.

Ferrari will be back on track on the 8th May at Fiorano, where Luca Badoer will carry out the shakedown of the cars that will be used in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Although the rain interrupted running at lunchtime, limiting the useful work that could be accomplished during the afternoon, Renault completed a large part of its programme during the morning, with Giancarlo Fisichella at the wheel of chassis R27-05.

The Italian's schedule concentrated on a set-up programme to tune the car's handling to his liking; a comparison of the two types of Bridgestone Potenza tyre that will be used at next weekend's Grand Prix; and a research programme. At the end of the day, the Italian had completed 63 laps, and was fourth on the timesheets.

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