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Valencia - Webber's pace in the sun 15 Feb 2006

Mark Webber (AUS) Williams. Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain, 7-10 February 2006. World ©  Capilitan/Sutton

Mark Webber and Williams-Cosworth topped the timesheets on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia yesterday, the Australian lapping the FW28 in 1m 10.688s to edge out Red Bull’s Christian Klien in the latest version of the new RB2.

In sunny and clear conditions and temperatures that reached 17.5 degrees C, they were joined by McLaren and Midland.

Webber reported himself very happy with the way his day went, while team-mate Alexander Wurz focused on race running to set the sixth fastest time.

Klien ran the second Red Bull RB2 chassis which ran the aerodynamic configuration in which it will race in Bahrain: revised bodywork package designed to overcome initial overheating problems. "We ran cooling configurations and also worked on chassis set-up," said technical director, Mark Smith.

Friday driver Robert Doornbos was out in the original version of the RB2 and concentrated on set-up work and development of the car's control systems.

Klien will continue in chassis two tomorrow, with Doornbos running for the morning in number one before handing over to David Coulthard in the afternoon.

At McLaren, the day marked the first on-track appearance of the team’s dramatic new livery. Juan Pablo Montoya and Pedro de la Rosa conducted shakedowns with the second and third MP4-21 chassis, which arrived from the McLaren Technology Centre over the weekend. They focused primarily on initial systems checks, and the first ‘in anger’ laps will begin tomorrow. McLaren were encouraged by their reliability. De la Rosa completed 102 laps of the 3.94 km circuit, putting over 400km on his car. Montoya did not start running until 2 pm as the test team had worked all morning installing the engine and gearbox. He covered 190 km in 48 laps. They were third and fourth fastest respectively. Kimi Raikkonen will join Montoya today.

Midland ran three drivers, Tiago Monteiro putting more miles on the Toyota-engined M16 with a programme that included set-up work, tyre testing and control system evaluations. The team reported considerable progress in these areas and will continue exploring them with Christijan Albers today.

"We worked through a number of different set ups, improving the balance throughout the day," Monteiro said, “and I am pleased with the tyre testing we completed. The car's handling is improving all the time and we are learning a lot. I'm pleased with the progress we have been making with the new car since we began testing last week."

Test driver Markus Winkelhock was entrusted with one of last year’s Jordan EJ15B chassis and completed 87 laps. His session was intended to familiarise him with F1 and to enable him to build up his mileage following his test in Jerez at the end of 2005. The team reported themselves satisfied with his progress.

"The car felt really good and I gained more experience after the test in Jerez in December,” Winkelhock said. “I feel more and more confident in the car and it was nice to get experience with the V8 engine. The circuit has a lot of slow corners for a Formula One car, although I tend to prefer the fast corners. I had a really good day and enjoyed being with the team again."

Fellow tester Giorgio Mondini ran a handful of laps in the car in preparation for a full day of testing today.

Unofficial times
1. Mark Webber, Williams FW28 (Bridgestone) 1:10.688s,
2. Christian Klien, Red Bull RB2 (Michelin) 1:11.263s,
3. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren MP4-21 (Michelin) 1:11.633s,
4. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren MP4-21 (Michelin) 1:11.701s,
5. Robert Doornbos, Red Bull RB2 (Michelin) 1:12.448s,
6. Alex Wurz, Williams FW28 (Bridgestone) 1:12.653s,
7. Tiago Monterio, Midland M16 (Bridgestone) 1:12.929s,
8. Markus Winkelhock, Jordan EJ15B (Bridgestone) 1:14.307s,
9. Giorgio Mondini, Jordan EJ15B (Bridgestone), no time