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Barcelona day two - de la Rosa shines again 07 Apr 2005

Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 3 April 2005

Fresh from his fan-thrilling performance in last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, McLaren’s Pedro de la Rosa was again the star of the show in testing in Spain on Wednesday.

As six more teams joined Tuesday runners Ferrari and Renault, de la Rosa lapped the Circuit de Catalunya in a best time of 1m 14.393s to finish a little over a tenth up on the Toyota of Ricardo Zonta.

"This morning we were running low fuel to simulate the first qualifying session over the race weekend,” explained de la Rosa, who completed 88 laps in the older McLaren MP4-19B. “Today we all worked on different set-ups and a tyre programme, it was a good day."

Team mate Alexander Wurz was fourth fastest behind the wheel of the MP4-20. The Austrian completed 65 laps, carrying out a series of short runs concentrating on Michelin tyre development.

"Today was only my second run in the MP4-20 so it took time to acclimatise,” said Wurz. “While I feel there are a few modifications which need to be made to the car, it was a positive test today."

McLaren continue testing on Thursday and Friday when they will be evaluating a number of new aerodynamic components for the MP4-20, plus running new brake discs and carrying out damper work.

Bahrain winner Fernando Alonso set the third-fastest time, with team mate Giancarlo Fisichella sixth, as Renault continued their three-day programme. Between them they racked up close to 200 laps in the R25. As this test session represents the final opportunity to run at this circuit ahead of next month's Spanish Grand Prix, the team concentrated on race preparations with set-up and tyre development programmes.

“We continued to accumulate mileage today, and particularly on Fernando's car,” explained chief test engineer Christian Silk. “Both drivers' programmes were focused on preparing for the Grand Prix and we made good progress in this direction.”

Williams began their week’s work with Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Pizzonia fifth and sixth respectively in the FW27. Their focus was set-up in the morning and tyres in the afternoon. Both men survived spins at the Repsol corner during the day, with Pizzonia making light contact with the barriers.

BAR began their first Barcelona test of the year, with Anthony Davidson eighth quickest to Jenson Button’s tenth. Davidson focussed on Michelin tyre work for future races, while Button conducted an aerodynamics and chassis programme in the 007. Takuma Sato takes over from Davidson on Thursday.

Marc Gene went ninth fastest as he continued Ferrari’s Bridgestone tyre programme with another 121 laps in the F2004 M. Gene will hand over the car to test colleague Luca Badoer on Thursday, with Rubens Barrichello also joining the session in the F2005.

David Coulthard was 10th fastest for Red Bull, ahead of the Toyota of Olivier Panis, with Jacques Villeneuve completing the timesheets for Sauber, the Swiss team concentrating on aerodynamic work and Spanish Grand Prix preparations.

"Today we were able to find some valuable results,” reported Sauber race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara. “However, we are still not where we want to be and need to work on it. Tomorrow we have also planned to run Michelin tyre tests."

Conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya were pretty much perfect for testing, with sunny, clear skies, only a slight breeze and track temperatures of up to 28 degrees Celsius.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:14.393
2. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:14.515
3. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:14.944
4. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.180
5. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:15.337
6. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:15.442
7. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.459
8. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:15.501
9. Marc Gene, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.729
10. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:16.130
11. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:16.385
12. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:17.150
13. Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (Michelin), 1:18.100