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Ferrari duo heads Valencia timesheets (with pictures)

NEWS STORY
22/01/2008

Ferrari headed the timesheets at Valencia today as eight more teams joined Renault and Williams to continue their preparations fro the new season, which gets underway in just over seven weeks.

In front of thousands of race fans, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa led the way as the Italian team worked on general development of the F2008 and on finding the best set-up for the cars. Neither driver encountered any technical problems, the duo completing 202 laps. Massa was the quicker of the two, out-pacing his World Championship winning teammate by 0.539.

24-hours after launching its 2008 contender, Nico Rosberg gave Williams a serious confidence boost by finishing third on the timesheets, ahead of the McLarens, Renaults and BMWs. Teammate Kazuki Nakajima, in the 2007 car, ended the day seventh, over 0.5s off his teammate's pace.

"After completing some further systems checks and mapping in the morning, Nico progressed onto long runs in the afternoon to check stabilised temperatures on the new cooling systems," said Sam Michael. "No major problems were encountered, so it was a successful initial run. Meanwhile, Kazuki continued the reliability programme with the FW29B."

Heikki Kovalainen was the quicker of the two McLaren drivers on duty, edging out Pedro de la Rosa by 0.137. The Woking duo spent the day accumulating more miles on the MP4-23 as work continued on the ongoing development of the 2008 challenger. There was particular focus on bringing the gearboxes up to mileage, to be in line with the new rules that gearboxes are to last for four races this season.

Fernando Alonso was again at the wheel of the new R28. The Spaniard and continued with set-up work in the morning, varying the balance of the car and evaluating the changes. He then concentrated on completing some long runs in the afternoon to test the reliability of different aspects of the car and to gather as much data as possible.

The French outfit enjoyed a productive day but this was slightly marred when Alonso ground to a halt just a few minutes before the end of the day. The Spaniard will be in the R28 again tomorrow for his last day of work this week. He will then hand over driving responsibilities to Nelson Piquet Jr, who will experience the R28 for the first time on Thursday.

"The second day ran smoothly and without any problems," said the Spaniard. "I was able to get on with my programme and had good discussions with my engineers at the end of the day. I completed some long runs this afternoon, and the car was reacting well, so the results are encouraging. We now need to keep moving forward and developing the car."

"We were able to achieve most of the objectives that we set ourselves for the second day of work," added Christian Silk. "When you start working with a new car, you have to make sure that all the systems on the car are reliable and functioning correctly. That is what we concentrated on today, and from that point of view everything went well. Tomorrow we will begin a programme which will be more interesting for the drivers and the engineers, which will allow us to gather more data."

Toro Rosso continues to impress, with Sebastian Vettel, in particular, looking good. The main item on the agenda for Vettel and Sebastien Vettel was getting to know the circuit, which the team has not used for some time. Once a decent set-up had been established, in the afternoon Bourdais worked on evaluating some new aero parts, while Vettel continued with set-up, as the track conditions gradually evolved because of changes in the wind and temperature.

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