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Valencia day two - Wurz ups the pace 21 Jan 2005

Alex Wurz (AUT) West McLaren Mercedes MP4/19B. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 28-30 September 2004. World © Capilitan/Sutton

McLaren were over 1.5 seconds faster than their nearest rival as testing continued at the Spanish circuit on Thursday. Alexander Wurz lapped his MP4-19 in 1m 09.510s, compared to 1m 11.171s for the second-placed Renault of Franck Montagny.

It was a busy day on track, with five of the six drivers completing over 100 laps. Wurz racked up 142 as he continued the Woking team’s development programme ahead of their new car’s first outing, which is scheduled for next Monday at Barcelona.

Montagny’s lap total was the highest, 156, as he carried out endurance tyre runs. He was joined by Fernando Alonso, making his first testing appearance of the year, but the Spaniard’s progress was limited by technical difficulties. He focussed on adapting to the new tyres and downforce levels for 2005.

“We had another very solid day of testing, in spite of the problems Fernando encountered,” reported chief test engineer Christian Silk. “He was excited to be back in an F1 car, and has begun adapting to the revised characteristics of the car. As for Franck, he completed a marathon day on our tyre testing programme, and has once again found some very promising results to carry forward to our next test.”

The BARs of Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were third and fourth fastest respectively. Button, in the new 007 worked on tyres and an aero programme, while Sato, in the ’05 Concept car, concentrated on tyres. The pair hands over to test drivers Anthony Davidson and Enrique Bernoldi on Friday.

Jacques Villeneuve rounded out the Thursday timesheets in the new Sauber C24. Explaining the team’s day, race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara said: "Basically the programme today covered the same aspects like yesterday and we kept on working on the set-up of the C24.

“Because the car has improved quite significantly we were able to start already with the in-depth Michelin tyre assessments which were originally scheduled for tomorrow. It helped that it was not as windy as yesterday, so we could also run some aerodynamic tests in the morning. In the afternoon we had to change the engine as it reached its maximum mileage.”

Testing is due to conclude at Valencia on Friday.

Unofficial Thursday times from Valencia:
1. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:09.510
2. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:11.171
3. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:11.250
4. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:11.390
5. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:11.462
6. Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (Michelin), 1:12.298