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Jerez day three - no let up from Schumacher 13 Oct 2006

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F248 F1 F1 Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain. 12th October 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton. Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1 Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain. 12th October 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren F1 Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain. 12th October 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mclaren chats with engineers. F1 Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain. 12th October 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton. Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams FW28. F1 Testing, Day 3, Jerez, Spain. 12th October 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton.

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher continued to dominate testing in Jerez on Thursday, clocking the quickest time for a second consecutive day. Schumacher lapped the Spanish test track in 1m 15.684s - over five-tenths faster than his Wednesday best and just a few hundredths of a second off the unofficial circuit record, which he set in September 2004.

Schumacher continued to evaluate Bridgestone tyres for the Brazilian Grand Prix and was joined on track by Luca Badoer, Ferrari’s official test driver. Badoer was fourth quickest in the second 248 F1. He completed 76 laps whilst working on the development of new parts for 2007.

Lewis Hamilton set the second-fastest time for McLaren. This year’s GP2 champion was over four-tenths quicker than team mate Pedro de la Rosa who ended the session fifth in the timings. Although a minor oil leak interrupted De la Rosa’s session he managed to complete his scheduled programme. Both drivers spent McLaren’s last day at the circuit evaluating Michelin tyres for Interlagos and testing developments for the team’s 2007 car.

Robert Kubica was BMW Sauber’s only driver in Jerez on Thursday (he will be joined by Nick Heidfeld on Friday). Kubica completed 100 laps and ended the day the third-fastest runner. The Pole continued transmission development work in the morning before undertaking several longer runs in the afternoon.

Ricardo Zonta completed his final day of testing for Toyota, before his move to Renault next season. Despite losing some valuable running time due to an engine change, Zonta clocked the sixth-quickest time.

“In the end, we still got some running in and I think the team can make a good choice,” explained the Brazilian. “This being my last day it is difficult to leave a team that I have worked with a long time and who have treated me so well. Looking back, we have had quite a busy and difficult season, focusing on the tyres and developing the car to improve on our results. The team was always motivated to keep moving ahead. I have always felt welcome here and I will miss everyone that I have worked with."

Seventh quickest was Olivier Panis in the second Toyota. Panis worked predominantly on tyre evaluation and completed 90 laps. Although the Frenchman is also due to leave Toyota this year, he is set to complete further tests during the winter months.

The day’s final runners were Alexander Wurz and Narain Karthikeyan for Williams. Wurz continued to test the Toyota engine the team will use next year and was eighth fastest, whilst Karthikeyan carried out a series of set-up comparisons before testing front wing assemblies. He finished the session ninth.

Although Ferrari, McLaren and Toyota have completed their Jerez programmes, Williams and BMW Sauber will continue to test in Spain on Friday.

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.684
2. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.804
3. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:17.012
4. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:17.241
5. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.292
6. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:17.488
7. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:17.801
8. Alexander Wurz, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:18.284
9. Narain Karthikeyan, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:20.449