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Barcelona day three - Coulthard quickest in RB3 15 Feb 2007

David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing RB3. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day Three, Wednesday 14 February 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2007. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day Three, Wednesday 14 February 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Takuma Sato (JPN) Super Aguri F1 Team Interim car. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day Three, Wednesday 14 February 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Jenson Button (GBR) Honda RA107 practice pitstop. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day Three, Wednesday 14 February 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR2. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, Day Three, Wednesday 14 February 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton

Red Bull’s David Coulthard topped the times at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday, during the final day of testing at the Spanish track. Coulthard’s best of 1m 21.855s in the RB3, was a tenth of a second faster than Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.

The Scot was joined on track by fellow race driver Mark Webber in the second RB3. For Webber, however, the day went less smoothly because of drive train problems. While Coulthard completed a mammoth 116 laps, Webber managed only 61 and finished 11th in the times. Even so, the team were satisfied with their progress overall.

“We are very pleased with the way this three day test has gone,” commented Paul Monaghan, Red Bull’s head of race and test engineering. “And yes, it’s nice to see David is quickest, at least for today, but more impressive is the fact he completed 116 laps. We can be happy with the mileage we have completed over the three days and also with the fact that our relationship with Renault and Bridgestone continues to improve, as has the overall performance and reliability of the car.”

Alongside second-placed Massa, Ferrari fielded Kimi Raikkonen who finished the test in seventh. The pair tried out a variety of set-ups as they continued to work through the F2007’s development programme. The Italian team also reached an important milestone, after both cars completed the duty cycle for engines required by the new regulations.

Nick Heidfeld was third fastest for BMW Sauber, while team test driver Sebastian Vettel was 15th. Although Heidfeld began an aero test in the morning, increasingly blustery conditions at the Spanish circuit forced the team to change to a cooling programme instead. Vettel, in the second F1.07, had a much less productive day, completing only 53 laps in total, after a variety of technical problems and off track excursions marred his running.

McLaren ended their week at the Circuit de Catalunya with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in fourth and sixth respectively. “We completed a number of race simulations, including Grand Prix specific activities such as pit stop practice as the team acclimatise themselves to the new equipment for 2007,” explained Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren CEO. “Alongside this preparatory work, the development programme for the MP4-22 continued apace.”

Splitting the two McLaren drivers was Nico Rosberg in fifth for Williams. Rosberg was joined on track by fellow race driver Alexander Wurz in the second FW29. Wurz was 14th fastest after spending the session evaluating several new gearbox developments.

Test driver Franck Montagny completed 113 laps for Toyota and finished in eighth. Team mate Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, trying out the new seamless shift gearbox for the first time, amassed 86 laps and was 16th fastest in the times.

Ninth quickest was Giancarlo Fisichella in the Renault R27, just ahead of team mate Heikki Kovalainen in tenth. Despite several technical issues, the pair enjoyed a successful day, completing most of their planned programmes.

"This was once again a very busy test for the team, with race and qualifying simulations on the first day, followed by set-up programmes on the next two,” explained Christian Silk, Renault’s chief test engineer. “We got through a lot of the programme and made some good progress, but we still have some unanswered questions - which is why we are looking forward to testing in Bahrain next week.”

Rubens Barrichello was Honda’s fastest runner in 12th, with Jenson Button in the second RA107 finishing in 14th. While Barrichello only completed 36 laps, after an exhaust problem concluded his running prematurely, Button covered 98 laps as he continued to evaluate the set-up and balance of the car over longer tyre runs.

Christijan Albers took the 17th slot for Spyker, while Takuma Sato ended the day in 18th for Super Aguri. Sato managed to complete a race simulation during the afternoon, while he analysed the Bridgestone tyres and conducted set-up changes. Completing Wednesday’s line-up was Vitantonio Liuzzi for Toro Rosso. Liuzzi, who was in charge of the team’s new STR2, carried out a 43-lap shakedown test during the new car’s maiden run.

Testing is scheduled to resume next Thursday in Bahrain.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:21.855
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:21.958
3. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:21.965
4. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:22.103
5. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:22.271
6. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:22.292
7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:22.363
8. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:22.446
9. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:22.758
10. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:22.783
11. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:22.834
12. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:23.257
13. Alexander Wurz, Williams, 1:23.271
14. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:23.278
15. Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, 1:23.571
16. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:23.789
17. Christijan Albers, Spyker, 1:23.947
18. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri, 1:24.568
19. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso, 1:26.296