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Barcelona Day 1 - Alonso leads 07 Apr 2004

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R24 in the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 3 April 2004 Anthony Davidson (GBR) BAR Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 2 April 2004 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Renault in the garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 2 April 2004 Luca Badoer (ITA) Ferrari Test Driver in the garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 2 April 2004 Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota Test Driver.
Malaysian Grand Prix, Rd 2, Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 19 March 2004

Renault’s Fernando Alonso topped the times at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday, as this week’s test session got underway in preparation for the upcoming San Marino Grand Prix.

Alonso clocked a best of 1m 15.269s, after 101 laps of the Barcelona circuit in the R24. He experimented with new set-ups, finding some useful steps forward, and also conducted a short, less successful, tyre compound test.

Team mate Jarno Trulli tested a new aerodynamic package and also ran a new engine specification, with positive results. The Italian finished third in the times, despite failing to complete any timed laps in the afternoon due to a hydraulics problem.

"Overall, we had a reasonable first day in Barcelona. The new developments ran without problems on Jarno's car, and performed as we had predicted,” commented Pat Symonds, Renault’s Executive Director of Engineering. “We will continue to learn about them during the rest of the week. Tomorrow, both drivers will run the new engine specification: Jarno will complete a race distance, while Fernando will concentrate on tyre and set-up work."

In a closely contested session, it was BAR’s Anthony Davidson who split the two French cars in the timesheets to go second. The British driver did 100 laps of aero and tyre work in the 006. He will move to Valencia on Wednesday for a two-day wet-weather session, with Takuma Sato taking over at Barcelona.

McLaren had both Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa in action, the testing duo going fourth and sixth fastest respectively in the MP4-19, as the Mercedes-powered team fight to get their season back on track.

Between the two silver machines was the sole Ferrari of Luca Badoer. It was the first ever Barcelona run for the F2004, and in the Italian’s hands it duly completed 68 laps of set-up and tyre testing.

Completing the Tuesday line-up were the two Toyotas of Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis, the latter being the only driver not to dip below the 1m 16s barrier.

Conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya were perfect, with sunny or overcast skies and track temperatures peaking at 30 degrees Celsius. Testing continues at the track on Wednesday, when Williams, Jaguar and Sauber are expected to join the proceedings.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.269
2. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:15.407
3. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.622
4. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.768
5. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.833
6. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.930
7. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:15.988
8. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:16.477