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Rosberg shines for Williams 16 Feb 2006

The Williams team practice pit stops with Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW28. Formula 1 Testing, Jerez, Spain, 7-10 February 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton

Nico Rosberg carried on where Williams team-mate Mark Webber left off by setting the fastest time in Valencia testing yesterday in his Cosworth-powered FW28. The Finn lapped in 1m 10.994s in the course of 121 laps. Webber was sixth fastest with 1m 11.569s, but problems limited him to only 33 laps.

"We’re satisfied with the way Nico ran today," said technical director Sam Michael. "We achieved our programme and the car was going well."

Kimi Raikkonen was next up for McLaren, lapping his MP4-21 in 1m11.185s, 21 laps, but team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya was only seventh on 1m 12.458s. Neither driver ventured out until 10 am as track temperatures were cool initially. Raikkonen worked on set-up and was delayed for a time by a minor transmission problem in the morning. Montoya spent the majority of the morning completing a race distance in his MP4-21, which included pit stop practice for the team. The Colombian's afternoon saw work focus on set-up programmes for the opening races over shorter runs.

Towards the end of the day both drivers suffered undisclosed mechanical failures. Raikkonen got back out on the track for the final 10 minutes, but Montoya’s day was over. They will continue running today.

Renault arrived to conduct a three-day test. Heikki Kovalainen was third quickest in his R26 with 1m 11.380s, just ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella’s 1m 11.438s. The Finn completed a race simulation during the morning in order to reach maximum mileage with his RS26 engine, before a planned change. Fisichella worked on set-up evaluation and tyre development with Michelin. He was delayed by several small problems in the afternoon, but was nevertheless able to complete useful work on his programmes.

"I had a very good day,” Kovalainen said. “I managed a race distance this morning, before doing some brake development in the afternoon. We focused on doing long runs, and the times make me think we are competitive again at this track. We are making progress every day, and the car seems reliable. I am happy."

Fisichella said: "I had a few problems today which meant I didn't do as many laps as I wanted to. Nevertheless, we are still on the right track. We are running to get miles on the car at the moment, not to set impressive times. I am still feeling very confident with the R26."

Red Bull Racing ran all three of their drivers, with Christian Klien fastest on 1m 11.791s. David Coulthard was ninth on 1m 13.601s, Robert Doornbos 10th on 1m 14.648s.

Klien continued to drive the second RB2 chassis with the latest aerodynamic package, and suffered a couple of stoppages during the day while working on set-up and trying control systems and evaluating tyres for the Bahrain and Malaysian Grands Prix.
Coulthard will try Klien’s chassis toay, when he will be Red Bull Racing’s sole runner as the other car will be shipped back to the factory to be fitted with the latest bodywork
package.

Doornbos continued to work on set-up and control systems in the same car that Coulthard drove in the afternoon, the original RB2 with the old aero package. "This gives David a good reference for comparison when he drives RB2-02 tomorrow," explained technical director Mark Smith. "Apart from a couple of problems with Christian's car, this has been another productive day."

At Midland, Christijan Albers had his first quick run in the new Toyota-engined M16 and lapped it in 1m 12.911s for seventh best time. The Dutchman concentrated mainly on tyre and weight distribution tests, but lost track time after hitting some debris out on the track. "Having not been at this track for six years, I had some difficulty remembering the circuit very well in the beginning,” Albers admitted. “We made reasonable progress today but still need to find more performance. Every day we are getting closer, which is positive. Toward the end of the day it gets a bit more difficult to see on the track due to the low sun, but all in all, it was a good day."

Tester Giorgio Mondini had his scheduled run in Midland’s Jordan EJ15B, and took it round in 1m 14.655s in the course of 84 laps. He achieved his objective of running more than 300 km. Despite a number of red flags, the team were very happy with the job he did working through his selected programme. "The car feels great, and I found it to be a very interesting day,” Mondini said. “The circuit has some great corners and is fun to drive on. I am satisfied with today's performance. The objective was to complete over 300km, which we did with consistent times. I was very happy with the way things were explained to me and I hope the team gained some useful information, as well."

Unofficial testing times
1. Nico Rosberg, Williams FW28 (Bridgestone) 1:10.994s,
2. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren MP4-21 (Michelin) 1:11.174s,
3. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault R26 (Michelin) 1:11.380s,
4. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault R26 (Michelin) 1:11.438s,
5. Christian Klien, Red Bull RB2 (Michelin) 1:11.530s,
6. Mark Webber, Williams FW28 (Bridgestone) 1:11.569s,
7. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren MP4-21 (Michelin) 1:12.458s,
8. Christijan Albers, Midland M16 (Bridgestone) 1:12.911s,
9. David Coulthard, Red Bull RB2 (Michelin) 1:13.601s,
10. Robert Doornbos, Red Bull RB2 (Michelin) 1:14.648s,
11. Giorgio Mondini, Jordan EJ15B (Bridgestone) 1:14.655s.