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Barcelona day two - McLaren in charge 23 Feb 2006

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/21. Formula 1 Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 21-24 February 2006. World ©  Capilitan/Sutton

Kimi Raikkonen topped the times in Spain on Tuesday in the week’s second day of testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. With the circuit dry throughout the session, Raikkonen was the busiest man on track, completing 96 laps on his way to a best of 1m 15.224s, putting him clear of the two Renaults.

Both Raikkonen and McLaren team mate Juan Pablo Montoya were charged with putting more mileage on the MP4-21 in a bid to further boost reliability. Montoya added 87 laps to the tally, the Colombian finishing eighth in the times, over a second down on Raikkonen.

Both Renault drivers suffered minor software problems on their morning installation laps and subsequently decided to wait for improved track conditions in the afternoon. They went on to complete 187 laps between them, Alonso working on tyres with Michelin and Fisichella running an incident-free race distance.

"It was another good day,” reported Alonso. “We did lots of laps, and completed the programme without any big problems. It was very windy today, which can be a bit unsettling at the wheel, but I am pleased with the work we did, and particularly with the car balance."

Like Renault, Honda conducted minimal running in the morning as they waited for track temperatures to rise. Jenson Button went on to set the day’s fourth-fastest time, with team mate Rubens Barrichello seventh, the pair working on chassis set-up and aero evaluation with the team’s latest RA106 car.

As usual, there was little to separate the two Toyotas in the times, Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher taking fifth and sixth spots respectively. Both continued evaluation of the team’s new aero package, introduced at Vallelunga last week, as well as Bridgestone tyre work.

“We did a lot of long runs and I am pleased with the development,” said Trulli. “The tyres are getting faster and the car is showing promising results. I am looking forward to putting some more mileage on the car this week to see how we compare to the other teams for the coming season."

Red Bull had a difficult day at the Circuit de Catalunya with their latest RB2 machine. After waiting for the track to warm both drivers went out at midday, but David Coulthard's engine failed and Christian Klien's gearbox packed up in quick succession.

"David had a fresh engine, but it was not to the latest specification that we plan to run in Bahrain," said chief test engineer Ian Morgan. "Christian's gearbox was quite high mileage, but we would not have expected it to fail when it did. Because he had a Bahrain-spec engine, it was important to put as many miles on it as possible, but both guys lost a lot of track time, especially David, who only returned to the track with half an hour remaining."

Williams also had a tough time of it. Mark Webber finished down in 11th after 88 laps, while team mate Nico Rosberg failed to set a time.

“Mark spent the whole day doing long runs on different tyre casings to look at improving degradation,” reported technical director Sam Michael. “We made good progress and will continue with this in the short term. Unfortunately, Nico didn't manage to record any timed laps today due to gearbox problems.”

Midland had both their race drivers in action, sharing a single M16 chassis. Tiago Monteiro completed a number of systems checks in the morning, before handing the car over to Christijan Albers for a tyre programme in the afternoon. They finished the day in 12th and 13th places.

Four seconds behind Monteiro in 14th spot was the Super Aguri of Yuji Ide, the Japanese driver making his official Formula One debut. After Takuma Sato’s limited running on Tuesday, Ide managed a more promising 44 laps in the Arrows-based SA05 machine.

“The main aim of the day was to allow him [Ide] to acclimatise himself to F1 levels of downforce and power, and to put further mileage onto the SA05 systems car,” said Mark Preston, Super Aguri’s chief technical officer. “Running was halted by an electronics problem on the gearbox, but Yuji completed 44 laps which is encouraging progress for the team.”

Testing continues in Barcelona on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.224
2. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.517
3. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.796
4. Jenson Button, Honda (Michelin), 1:15.964
5. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:16.193
6. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:16.381
7. Rubens Barrichello, Honda (Michelin), 1:16.474
8. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.537
9. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:16.900
10. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:18.190
11. Mark Webber, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:18.265
12. Christijan Albers, MF1 (Bridgestone), 1:19.300
13. Tiago Monteiro, MF1 (Bridgestone), 1:20.387
14. Yuji Ide, Super Aguri (Bridgestone), 1:24.455
15. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), no time