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Jerez day one - Raikkonen in charge 29 Apr 2005

Pole sitter Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20 leaves the pits.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, San Marino Grand Prix, Race Day, Imola, Italy, 24 April 2005

McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen was the man to beat at Jerez on Thursday as four of the Formula One teams began a two-day test session in preparation for next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

With sunny conditions and track temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius, Raikkonen clocked a best time of 1m 16.917s, despite a delay to his programme when an engine ancillary drive broke, requiring an engine change. He then went back out, but encountered a minor software problem which the test team fixed.

The Finn eventually completed 54 laps as he and team mate Pedro de la Rosa (third fastest after 139 laps) concentrated on Michelin tyre testing, engine durability, set-up development and developments on McLaren’s aero package for Barcelona and other forthcoming races.

Splitting the silver cars was the Toyota of Jarno Trulli. Like McLaren, the Japanese had switched their test programme from Silverstone to Spain, following fears of poor weather at the British Grand Prix circuit. Trulli was joined by tester Olivier Panis, who went sixth quickest as the pair continued development of the TF105.

Renault had Fernando Alonso and Franck Montagny in action in the R25. Both completed incident-free race weekend simulations with the B specification RS25 engine, which both race drivers will use at the Spanish Grand Prix. The team’s chassis programme concentrated primarily on tyre evaluations, for the next race and beyond.

“We had initially planned to run at Silverstone this week,” explained chief test engineer Christian Silk. “That means we need to complete three days' work in two - which in turn led to an extremely busy day for the test team here in Jerez. However, both drivers succeeded in completing race weekend distances without any technical problems, and we collected some promising results from our tyre evaluation work.”

Red Bull had an eventful day, with Vitantonio Liuzzi finishing ahead of David Coulthard in the times, despite a heavy accident for the Italian early in the afternoon when he lost control of his RB01 and went off into the wall. Liuzzi was unhurt and the car should be repaired in time for Friday’s session.

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.917
2. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Michelin), 1:17.489
3. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.514
4. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.738
5. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.809
6. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.555
7. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:19.906
8. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:20.105