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Paul Ricard day two - Renault one-two 18 May 2006

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R26 Formula One Testing, Paul Ricard HTTT, France. 16 May 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton

Fernando Alonso and Heikki Kovalainen set the pace for Renault in Wednesday’s Formula One test session at the French circuit of Paul Ricard. There was little to separate the drivers in the times, with the top-ten runners covered by less than a second.

The track was again set up in its ‘Monaco’ configuration, with the majority of teams focusing their efforts on set-up and tyres for the forthcoming Monte Carlo street race.

Nearest rival to the Renaults was Jacques Villeneuve, who impressed in the BMW Sauber, finishing the day just two tenths down on Alonso. In contrast, team mate Nick Heidfeld was 12th and last in the times. Both men carried out some aero work, as well as general Monaco preparations.

Red Bull leapt up the timesheets, with Christian Klien fourth fastest, ahead of Jarno Trulli’s Toyota and the sole Ferrari of Felipe Massa. The McLarens of Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen were seventh and ninth respectively, split by the second Red Bull of David Coulthard.

Toro Rosso were the seventh and final team present, with Vitantonio Liuzzi 11th fastest behind Ralf Schumacher’s Toyota. Liuzzi was the busiest man on track, running almost 170 laps in the STR01.

Testing continues at Paul Ricard on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:05.363
2. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:05.546
3. Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:06.563
4. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:05.577
5. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:05.624
6. Felipe Massa, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:05.686
7. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:06.008
8. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:06.083
9. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:06.266
10. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:06.333
11. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (Michelin), 1:06.369
12. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:06.619