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Ferrari sets the pace at Jerez (with pictures)

NEWS STORY
14/01/2008

Ferrari dominated the first day of testing today, as nine of the eleven teams that will contest the 2008 championship got their preparations underway in earnest.

Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, who each had an F2008 at their disposal, topped the timesheets almost a second clear of the next quickest driver, Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel.

After heavy overnight rain, the test got underway in the wet, with several drivers opting not to run until conditions improved in the afternoon.

The Ferrari duo began work on the development of the F2008,completing a total of 102 trouble-free laps. Both continue here tomorrow.

Toro Rosso had Bourdais and Vettel on duty, the damp conditions meaning that both got to experience a Formula 1 car in the wet, without the aid of traction control and engine braking, for the first time. Other new elements on the car were also introduced for the first time to comply with 2008 technical regulations: gearbox components adapted to run for four race weekends and the cockpit modified to meet new safety standards. Evaluating all these elements will form the main part of the agenda for tomorrow.

Fourth and fifth quickest was the McLaren duo of Pedro de la Rosa and Heikki Kovalainen. Due to the conditions in the morning, the Woking team limited its programme in the morning to carrying out sign off tests on some of the new components on the Finn's car with the Spaniard not leaving the garage apart from his installation lap first thing. Once the track dried out in the afternoon the focus moved to longer runs, working on general set ups for the MP4-23. Lewis Hamilton will join Kovalainen tomorrow.

Rosberg and Nakajima were on duty for Williams, running in one of six liveries the team will run pre-season as the Grove outfit celebrates a number of landmarks in 2008. The German ended the day seventh quickest while his Japanese teammate could only manage twelfth, over 3s off the pace.

Toyota gave its new TF108 car its official testing debut following a successful roll-out here yesterday. Jarno Trulli completed 67 laps at the wheel of the TF108 during yesterday's trouble-free roll-out in ideal conditions but the new car's first full day of testing was hampered by this morning's conditions.

Trulli's task was to put as many laps as possible on the new car to test systems and begin to understand set-up changes while his new team-mate Timo Glock drove a modified version of the TF107, working on the new gearbox and standard ECU, as well as making some set-up comparisons.

Soon after lunch the German spun into the gravel at turn 8, damaging his front wing against the tyre barriers. But quick work by his crew saw him back in action after a short delay and he completed his programme with no further trouble. Trulli made good progress understanding the TF108 and, thanks to impressive reliability from the new car, he completed 87laps. Glock takes over at the wheel of the new car tomorrow, with Kamui Kobayashi alongside.

"Everything went smoothly today," said Trulli. "We were competitive all day, in the wet and in the dry. We pushed our performance forward and also gained more experience with this new car, which is very important and we are understanding more and more how it works. The roll-out yesterday was successful and we were able to complete a lot of laps without any trouble. The car seems to be running well and there are no major problems. I was happy to do so many laps with a new car today - it was a positive day."

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