A lap of Catalunya with Pedro de la Rosa 06 May 2004
The McLaren test driver, a resident of Barcelona, describes a flying lap of the citys Circuit de Catalunya, venue for this weekends Spanish Grand Prix.
For a map of the circuit layout, please click here.
Accelerating downhill along the start-finish straight you hit 190mph/310kph in seventh gear before braking hard for the right-hander of Elf. You can hit up to 4.8G under braking as your speed reduces to 86mph/138kph in second gear.
The second corner is an uphill left flick taken at some 118mph/189kph in third and flat out in qualifying to get a quick time. The long, fast sweep of Renault follows, which is taken in fourth and is also taken pretty much flat. You come to a short straight before Repsol, reaching some 180mph/290kph in sixth gear before braking hard for this right hander.
You enter Repsol in third gear at 85mph/137kph, carrying as much speed as possible as it allows you to brake very deep into the corner. A short burst of acceleration and you reach the Seat hairpin, the slowest corner of the circuit. Hard on the brakes the track drops as you swing through this tight left-hander at 60mph/97kph in second gear.
Accelerating out of Seat, the track sweeps through a gentle left curve reaching 160mph/272kph in fifth gear before once again braking hard for the left hander of Würth, which is taken in second at 85mph/136kph and where it is important to run over the exit curb to make a wider exit.
A short uphill straight leads you onto Campsa, negotiated at 135mph/217kph in fourth gear. It is important to carry a lot of speed through this corner and come out very fast, using all the exit curb again, as this will give you extra speed onto the Nissan straight. You arrive at 180mph/290kph to La Caixa, which has been modified this year, with a tighter entry to the corner and short straight taking the circuit back to the previous track. It is taken in first gear and is the slowest section of the circuit.
There is a small left kink before you rejoin the old track, but it is taken flat using all the inside curb. Banc de Sabadell, another hairpin, follows. You just have to brake gently but with speed as you turn in, as the rear end always tries to snap away here.
There are only two corners left which are the best and fastest of the circuit. The first one is taken flat out in qualifying, and in the race you lift slightly to negotiate it at 150mph/241kph in fourth gear. You come out directly onto the last corner, New Holland, which is taken in fifth gear at 140mph/225 kph, with a small lift on entry. It is very important to come out quick of this last corner as the pit straight that follows is very long.