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Imola Day Two - Renault fastest again 19 Feb 2004

Jarno Trulli, Renault, Jerez testing, 8 January 2004

Renault's Jarno Trulli topped the times in second day of testing at Imola on Tuesday. The Italian driver set a best lap of 1m 21.241s as he worked on tyres and set-up with the team's R24 car.

In the course of his running, Trulli also completed the test mileage on the A-spec engine that Renault plan to use in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix. Team mate Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest, carrying out a similar programme.

"Once more, the team experienced a productive day's work," commented Renault's Executive Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds. "We ran a huge number of laps, and indeed Jarno reached a record engine mileage on his 'A' spec unit. Both drivers have continued to be positive in their feedback throughout their race distances, and the car is very consistent on long runs. Poor weather is forecast for tomorrow, but we will make the most of our track time, whatever the conditions."

Felipe Massa piloted his Sauber C23 to the day's second best time after 67 laps of the Italian circuit, while team mate Giancarlo Fisichella completed 62 laps and was fifth fastest. "We continued our programme and were able to improve the set-up of the car based on the information that we had gathered yesterday," reported Chief Race Engineer Jacky Eeckelaert.

"Giancarlo evaluated new aerodynamic parts in the morning, while Felipe concentrated on tyre tests for Bridgestone. Felipe then started the race simulation, but was hampered by some hydraulic problems. Giancarlo ran a tyre test programme in the afternoon in view of the Australian Grand Prix, and I am confident that we are now in a position to make a good choice for that race."

The opening day of Ferrari's Imola programme was cut short after a heavy crash for test driver Luca Badoer at the Variante Alta corner. The Italian was unhurt and a medical check passed him fit to return to the cockpit on Thursday. Prior to his accident he had done 58 laps of tyre work in an F2003-GA.

The second day of Jordan's Imola test saw Giorgio Pantano and Nick Heidfeld add 60 and 67 laps respectively to the EJ14 programme. Jordan's Head of Race and Test Engineering James Robinson said, "It was another day spent building up miles with the EJ14 although today was slightly more frustrating than previous days as we had a number of exhaust pipe failures which reduced valuable track time.

"It was the same issue each time, that's the beauty of Imola - it tends to throw you a new set of problems. We are confident we can get on top of this in time for Melbourne. Both drivers continued with Bridgestone's tyre test programme and we have carried out repeated pit stop practices - with the drivers stopping in the pit lane box and leaving it in a simulated 'live' environment, which is particularly useful for Giorgio as he is new to the F1 pit stop procedure."

Minardi began their final pre-season test to make for a complete Bridgestone line-up. In the PS04B Gianmaria Bruni worked through a technical programme that included aerodynamic tests, chassis set-up evaluation, further engine development on the Cosworth CR3L V10, and tyre assessment for Bridgestone. The team also took the opportunity to conduct a longer, race simulation run and practice its pit-stop drill during the afternoon session

"I'm satisfied with the work we carried out today," said Bruni, who hands over to team mate Zsolt Baumgartner on Thursday. "We tried a number of different chassis set-ups, some of which turned out to be better than others, but that is what testing is all about. Towards the end of the day, we did a long run, and arrived at what we feel is a suitable set-up for Melbourne. I'm also very pleased we had a chance to assess the latest Bridgestone tyre compounds that will be used in Australia. We did some really useful testing with these today."

Conditions were again dry, but cool and overcast at Imola, with track temperatures no higher than around 12 degrees Celsius. Testing continues on Thursday, when rain is forecast.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Imola:
1. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1:21.241
2. Felipe Massa, Sauber (Bridgestone), 1:21.291
3. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:21.412
4. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:21.683
5. Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (Bridgestone), 1:21.798
6. Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:22.640
7. Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:23.280
8. Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (Bridgestone), 1:23.999