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Barcelona day one - Villeneuve sets pace 24 Jan 2006

Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) BMW Sauber F1.06. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 23-27 January 2006. World ©  Capilitan/Sutton

BMW Sauber and McLaren kicked off this week’s testing at Barcelona on Monday and it was former champion Jacques Villeneuve who emerged the fastest runner.

Villeneuve, at the wheel of the new BMW Sauber F1.06, was almost eight tenths of a second quicker than McLaren’s Gary Paffett as he completed 83 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya, focussing on set-up and aero adjustments.

Team mate Nick Heidfeld was fourth fastest in an interim Sauber C24B, fitted with the team’s 2006 V8 engine. Heidfeld carried out practice starts as well as aero and tyre evaluations, running 82 laps.

At McLaren, all eyes were on Pedro de la Rosa and the new MP4-21. The Spaniard was able to complete only 19 laps due to technical issues with the new car, but nevertheless finished barely two tenths behind team mate Paffett, who ran 76 laps of tyre work in an interim MP4-20.

"Today’s first test session with the MP4-21 has provided us with some useful feedback,” said de la Rosa. “Unfortunately we had a problem with the oil pressure, which was why I stopped out on track shortly before lunchtime. However this is why we test, to work out any such problems and I think that considering it was a shakedown everything went well."

Testing continues in Barcelona on Tuesday, when all other teams except Williams and MF1 are due to join the session.

Unofficial Monday times from Barcelona:
1. Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:17.230
2. Gary Paffett, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.066
3. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.252
4. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:18.471