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Barcelona Day 2 - Sato edges Trulli 08 Apr 2004

Takuma Sato (JPN) BAR.
Australian Grand Prix Preparations, Rd 1, Albert Park, Australia, 4 March 2004

BAR’s Takuma Sato moved ahead in Barcelona on Wednesday. The Japanese driver topped a closely contested test session at the Circuit de Catalunya, which saw the top six runners covered by just half a second.

Sato, who took over from Tuesday runner Anthony Davidson at the wheel of the 006 for the second of BAR’s four-day schedule, put in over 100 laps of the Spanish track, setting a best time of 1m 14.676s. His programme focussed on aerodynamic and tyre preparations for May’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Just a hundredth of a second down on Sato was Renault’s Jarno Trulli, running new chassis developments in what was a disrupted day for the Italian and the team. He stopped on the circuit after 28 laps of his planned race distance with an oil leak, which was traced to an ancillary component on the engine. The engine was changed before he took to the track again late in the afternoon, going on to complete a total of 78 laps.

Meanwhile, team mate Fernando Alonso got his first taste of Renault’s new engine specification, and pronounced it a worthwhile step forward. Unfortunately, a failure on the V10 during the afternoon, which the team has yet to analyse, also restricted his running and he ended the day fourth fastest after 56 laps.

"In terms of running the cars, we had quite a difficult day out in Barcelona, but the feedback from both drivers was nevertheless positive,” commented Pat Symonds, Renault’s Executive Director of Engineering. “The prime objective of Jarno's day was to get mileage on the new engine specification, which meant we took the decision to repair the unit and it will be used again tomorrow.

“While we have not yet located the precise cause of Fernando's problem, his initial impressions were very positive. Both drivers will continue to run with the new engine tomorrow to conclude the session."

Luca Badoer moved up to third in the timesheets in his second day of testing for Ferrari, alternating between two F2004s at his disposal. His programme included a long distance run, which was completed successfully, as well as working on finding the best set-up. Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello will be on track for the team on Thursday.

Alexander Wurz was the quicker of the two McLaren drivers present, going fifth fastest to David Coulthard’s eighth, while Marc Gene led the Williams campaign in sixth, ahead of the Toyota of Olivier Panis.

Gene completed over 100 laps of set-up and tyre work in the FW26. He was joined by New Zealander Scott Dixon, the reigning IRL champion going ninth fastest after 96 laps, as he began his second test with the Williams team.

Jaguar and Sauber also joined the Barcelona test on Wednesday. Official third driver Bjorn Wirdheim was 11th quickest for the former, with Felipe Massa completing the timesheets for the latter. The Sauber driver’s running was hampered by an engine change and he went on to cover 48 laps.

"Right at the beginning of our test day we had to change the engine as a consequence of a mechanical problem,” explained Sauber race engineer Mike Krack. “Due to this interruption we finally could not conduct our programme as scheduled. In the afternoon we began our race preparation for Barcelona and worked with Bridgestone on tyre constructions.

"Tomorrow we will continue our Bridgestone programme and will sort out the tyre construction and compounds for the Spanish Grand Prix. In the course of this brake checks and the assessment of some new aerodynamic parts are scheduled as well."

Conditions at Barcelona were again perfect with clear or overcast conditions and track temperatures of up to 21 degrees Celsius. Testing continues on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:14.676
2. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1:14.686
3. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:14.867
4. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.126
5. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.192
6. Marc Gene, Williams (Michelin), 1:15.194
7. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:15.795
8. David Coulthard, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.828
9. Scott Dixon, Williams (Michelin), 1:15.922
10. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:16.146
11. Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:16.582
12. Felipe Massa, Sauber (Bridgestone), 1:17.104