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Alonso quickest on final day at Valencia (with pictures)

NEWS STORY
03/02/2010

Fernando Alonso, making his debut for Ferrari, topped the timesheets on the final day of testing at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo.

Over thirty thousand fans packed the grandstands to watch their hero make his track debut for the legendary Maranello team, and it seemed almost as many journalists and photographers were in the pitlane attempting to get that all important picture or quote.

However, the Ferrari crew, with the assistance of circuit security, held the mob at bay and the Spaniard was able to get to work.

Having completed a couple of installation and acclimatisation laps the two-time world champion got down to the serious work and it wasn't long before he was topping the timesheets. Indeed, it wasn't long before he'd eclipsed the exceedingly quick time posted by his Brazilian teammate on Tuesday, furthermore, it was posted at the beginning of a multi-lap run and therefore not on fumes as some might suggest.

The Spanish driver, who worked mainly on finding the best set-up on the F10 and assessing its handling with various fuel loads, completed a total of 127 laps, his best time of 1:11.470 being the quickest overall lap at this test.

"I've been waiting for this moment for months and finally it's here,” said Alonso at the end of the day's programme. "We worked a lot at the works over the last weeks, but I was still missing the experience on the track. Today I concentrated mainly on getting to know the car. There were many new things for me here, such as the Schubert helmet and the Brembo brakes I had never used before.

"I must say that I felt at ease immediately thanks to Felipe's work during the last days," he continued, "the car went well and it was fast; it had a good set up, too, which is positive. It's absolutely impossible to say where we stand compared to the others: I didn't watch them closely, because I had too much work to do with my team. Anyway it's far too early to say anything. There are so many unknown factors and it's a bit like training for football teams, you never know if they're playing with two goalies or only with their second team.

"It's true, we drove many laps over the last three days. To be competitive you need a reliable car and we're on the right track. The technicians have lots of data now to prepare us the best possible way for the next tests. It's important that the data we had before we came here has been confirmed on the track. We need to continue like this and in the last tests, we need to try to find the car's limit."

Asked how he felt on seeing the thousands of fans packed into the stands, Alonso said: "I knew that many fans had been expected here, but this was something else. We're in the middle of the week and it's incredible to see so many people in the stands. This was a very special day for me. Not only because I finally had my debut in red, but it's also my father's birthday, who was here with me. I enjoyed every single one of those 127 laps."

Sauber continues to show good pace, the Swiss team never out of the top three over the course of the three-day test. Today saw Pedro de la Rosa back behind the wheel of the C29.

"After the roll-out on Monday this was my second day with the new car and I'm happy it was another positive one," said the Spaniard. "We learned a lot about the set-up of the car with these tyres, and also about the direction we have to go in with our work for the future."

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