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Raikkonen edges out Kovalainen on final day (with pictures)

NEWS STORY
24/01/2008

World Champion Kimi Raikkonen wrapped up this week's Valencia test, the second major test of 2008, by posting the fastest time of the day. However, the Finn failed to eclipse the time posted by McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen - admittedly on a light fuel load - on Wednesday.

There were a significant number of red flags today, with Piquet and Bourdais going off and Hamilton, Vettel and Fisichella all stopping out on track with various mechanical issues.

The Maranello outfit continued with its planned schedule for this test, mainly to gain further information on the F2008 regarding reliability and on finding the best set-up for the car. Raikkonen completed 88 laps while Massa completed 96.

The Italian team is back on track on February 4, when it will take part in two three-day tests at Sakhir, home of the Bahrain GP. Thus far, Ferrari and Toyota are the only confirmed teams.

Splitting the red cars, and only 0.017s off Raikkonen's pace, was Kovalainen, who continues to out-pace his teammate Lewis Hamilton. The Woking duo continued to focus on accumulating more miles in the MP4-23 whilst continuing the programme of set-up work and systems durability. Just over an hour before the end of the test Hamilton's car stopped out on track as his engine was in a process of planned reliability testing at the end of the week's session, with the team pushing it well beyond its limit of a two race weekend.

The team resumes its test programme at Barcelona on February 1. BMW

"With clear weather on all three days this week we have been able to accumulate more miles on the two MP4-23s," said Martin Whitmarsh, "which is crucially important at this stage of the development with the focus very much on endurance and reliability. Lewis, Heikki and Pedro have been doing a great job and the feedback we are getting has been extremely productive. Bridgestone have supplied us with a harder compound of tyre than we have usually used at this circuit, and we have been spending some time working with them closely on this. We are on target with our programme and looking forward to seeing how the car will handle round the Barcelona circuit next week."

Getting his first outing in the new FW30, Kazuki Nakajima continued to set an impressive pace, out-pacing 0.023s ahead of Hamilton. The Japanese driver, who was partnered by Nico Hulkenberg, was also the busiest driver today, completing 116 laps. Hulkenberg, in the FW29B, continued to familiarise himself with the car, completing 74 laps.

For BMW, Nick Heidfeld drove the F1.07B again and continued working on the systems based on the 2008 rules. Like yesterday, he had a limited programme. Meanwhile, Robert Kubica worked on the set-up of the F1.08, allowing the German team to find some favourable setting for the new car. The Pole also completed some long-runs.

"In terms of reliability the F1.08 is already very good," said Willy Rampf. We have covered numerous laps without any noteworthy problems to date. As far as performance is concerned, we are at the start of a comprehensive development phase. We have analysed the data from the test drives so far and identified the potential areas concerned. By the next test in Barcelona the car will already have received some relevant modifications. Following that, we will be using new components in all the other tests up to the start of the season. We have set ourselves an internal target which we aim to meet by Melbourne, and I am confident we will achieve that."

Toyota concluded its second test of the year with Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock at the wheel of their TF108s. As with the previous two days, the team's focus was on set-up evaluations and Trulli's programme included several aerodynamic configurations while Glock looked at aerodynamic and mechanical set-up.

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