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Renault positive after first full test 18 Jan 2007

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27 leads Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R27 Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 17 January 2007. World ©  Bumstead/Sutton Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R27 Formula One Testing, Day 2, Jerez, Spain. 17 January 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri Interim Car Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 17 January 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) and Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) in the new Renault R27. Formula One Testing, Day 2, Jerez, Spain. 17 January 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) Williams Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, 17 January 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton

Fisichella tops day two at Jerez, but Super Aguri close behind

Renault have become the first team to test with two examples of their 2007 car after Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen took to the Jerez circuit in Spain on Wednesday. Both men were at the wheel of an R27 as the world champions continued with initial systems checks and reliability running on the new car.

After his relatively short shakedown run on Tuesday, Fisichella completed an impressive 115 laps - including a full race distance - to top the times on the car’s first full day of testing. Renault also identified the engine problem that had halted the R27 on Tuesday, tracing it to an accessory component.

"This is a brand new car, so to complete a full race distance on the first proper day of running, without any problems, is a very good achievement,” said an upbeat Fisichella. “It means that we are already in a strong position with reliability, although there is still a lot of work to do ahead of the first race.

“The track conditions were still not good today, but the situation is improving a little. It didn't matter so much today because we were focusing on reliability work, but tomorrow we will start to make some set-up changes. Overall, I still have a nice feeling with the car, and I can feel it has good potential that."

Kovalainen’s first day at the wheel of the R27 saw him complete fewer laps than Fisichella as he got a feel for the car's handling and performance, but the Finn’s positive first impressions echoed those of his team mate.

“The first feeling this morning was very good, and also during the longer runs this afternoon,” he said, after completing 44 laps to finish the day fourth fastest. “The characteristics are similar to the R26, but I can feel that we have improved in the areas we had targeted during the winter.”

Super Aguri started their 2007 test programme in style, with Anthony Davidson going second fastest, less a tenth of a second down on Fisichella. Davidson’s 114 laps comprised continued analysis of the Bridgestone Potenza tyres as well as control systems development on the Japanese team’s interim car.

Williams were the third and final team present, with Kazuki Nakajima continuing where he left off on Tuesday. The Japanese test driver completed a mammoth 140 laps as he set the day’s third-fastest time, also in an interim machine.

“We had a very varied programme today commencing with analysis of cooling options and electronic systems checks to start with,” explained Williams’ test team manager Mike Condliffe. “For the remainder of the morning, Kazuki completed his first full race simulation without incident. In the afternoon session, we undertook some additional traction control work followed by a safety car simulation.”

Testing continues at Jerez on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Jerez:
1. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:20.201
2. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:20.266
3. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:20.375
4. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:20.635