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Kubica is quickest on final day (Words & Pictures)

NEWS STORY
03/02/2011

Lotus Renault GP's Robert Kubica topped the timesheets on the final day of testing at Valencia, the Pole posting the fastest lap of the three day test.

The British team measured the downforce produced by the R31 with some aero runs this morning - this involved running the car at constant speed on the straight - and ties up with the wind tunnel figures.

Initial set-up work was also very productive and the team found some good directions. Almost all of the routine systems checks have now been completed, allowing the team to focus on performance work and tyre evaluation in Jerez next week.

"I think we can split the day into two halves," said Kubica, "because we had some problems in the morning and we only managed to do our first real run about 13:30. But, after we solved the issues with the car, we managed to do a bit of set-up evaluation and some tyre work. However, because of the time we lost this morning we didn't complete the laps we targeted, but it's better to get any reliability issues with the car during testing, rather than when we get to the first race in Bahrain."

"After months of effort from the whole team, it was great to be on the track for the first time with the R31 this week," said James Allison. "Our first three days of testing have not been without incident, but we have managed a good amount of running, proving out the reliability and functionality of all the key systems on the car notwithstanding its rather unusual layout. The first test has shown that management of the tyres this season will be absolutely critical, so it was good to have made some progress in this regard. We move on to the second pre-season test next week looking to make further progress with set-up and tyre management prior to getting the first race package together in the later tests."

"It was a tricky morning with some electrical gremlins on the car," admitted Alan Permane. "We eventually got to the bottom of them, but it took us longer than expected, so we lost some track time. The afternoon was much more productive. We ran a set-up programme, which was the first time we had made any significant changes to the car and steadily improved the balance. In the latter part of the afternoon we concentrated on reliability work with some long runs and it's encouraging to have covered 95 laps."

Adrian Sutil was back on duty for Force India, the German completing more than 100 laps with the VJM03, the first time he has driven the car since the tyre test in Abu Dhabi in November.

As with Paul di Resta and Nico Rosberg over the previous two days, Sutil's programme was focussed principally on collecting further data on the performance of the Pirelli tyres under different set-ups and fuel loads. In a productive session, the German posted the second quickest time of the day behind the Lotus Renault GP car of Robert Kubica.

The team now heads to Jerez for the second test next week (10 - 13 February), where the VJM04 will be run for the first time.

"It felt good to be in the car again after a few months away!" said Sutil. "Everything went pretty smoothly, as we expected with the VJM03, so we could complete the work we wanted to do. Paul and Nico had collected a lot of data on the tyres in the previous two days, so my aim today was to continue this work on alternative set-ups and fuel loads. We got all the information we needed and I feel like we understand the tyre performance pretty well now. Having got back into the car again I now can't wait to get my first taste of the VJM04 next week in Jerez."

"During the final day's testing Adrian got a chance to compare the different tyres," added circuit engineering director, Dominic Harlow, "but also looked at some set-up alternatives, brake material and the range of weight distribution available to us.

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