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Jerez day four - Renault's Kovalainen dominates 22 Jan 2007

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27 Formula One Testing, Day 4, Jerez, Spain. 19 January 2007. World © Patching/Sutton. Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri Interim Car Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, 19 January 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27 Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, 19 January 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Takuma Sato (JPN) Super Aguri Interim Car Formula One Testing, Day Four, Jerez, Spain, 19 January 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton. Takuma Sato (JPN) Super Aguri F1 Interim Car Formula One Testing, Day 4, Jerez, Spain. 19 January 2007. World © Patching/Sutton

Heikki Kovalainen ended Renault’s first test of 2007 on a high on Friday, after topping the times in Jerez by a decisive 1.3 second advantage. Kovalainen, at the wheel of the team’s new R27, lapped the Spanish circuit in 1m 19.183s - the fastest time of the entire four-day test.

Kovalainen carried out a full programme of endurance running, before embarking on set-up development work. The Finn, who completed 113 trouble-free laps in the team’s 2007 challenger, was joined by Fisichella in a second R27. The Italian’s day, however, proved far less fortunate with early morning gearbox problems preventing him from completing any set-up work before lunchtime.

“The gremlins we have encountered are completely normal with a new car, and we have worked methodically to solve each one,” commented Christian Silk, Renault’s chief test engineer. “It has been a huge benefit to be able to run two new chassis from the off: we have found more problems, and conducted more set-up development, than ever before in a first test with a brand new car."

The only other runner was Takuma Sato in the Super Aguri. Sato, who took over from team mate Anthony Davidson in the team’s interim car, completed 119 laps in the sunny conditions. The Japanese driver worked through control systems evaluations, while continuing to learn about the new Bridgestone Potenza tyres.

“It was another positive test for us and I am very pleased to start the New Year testing like this,” explained Sato. “We tried various set-ups for a variety of conditions and learned a few things on the control side as well. The car was very reliable so we were able to complete our planned programme with very good mileage. The team is working well together and we had a very good atmosphere here, so I am happy with this test.”

Both Renault and Super Aguri will return to the track in less than two weeks' time for a multi-team test, due to take place in Valencia between January 29 and February 1.

Unofficial Friday Times from Jerez
1. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:19.183
2. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:20.478
3. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri, 1:20.688