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Barcelona day four - Coulthard ends on a high 04 May 2007

David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing RB3. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 3 May 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 Test Driver aerodynamic detail. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 3 May 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Intermediate tyres for Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.07. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 3 May 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton Pitboard mechanic for Ralf Schumacher (GER) Toyota TF107. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 3 May 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton (L to R): Christian Klien (AUT) Honda F1 Racing Test Driver talks with Andrew Shovlin (GBR) Honda F1 Racing Engineer. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 3 May 2007. World © Hartley/Sutton

After three days with Ferrari drivers topping the timesheets, Red Bull’s David Coulthard was the fastest man at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday, as this week’s test drew to a close. Coulthard took advantage of a fourth day of running - granted in response to Tuesday’s wash-out - to clock a best time of 1m 21.066s.

Although rain returned once more in the afternoon, a dry track in the morning allowed all seven teams still in attendance to carry out some meaningful work. Coulthard completed 59 laps in the aerodynamically-updated RB3, as he focused on tyre comparison work for next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Two-tenths of a second down on the Scot was McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa, who covered 58 laps as the championship leaders attempted to complete development work on the MP4-22. Although the Spaniard’s running was interrupted by the rain he did venture back on track late in the afternoon as the weather cleared.

Felipe Massa - fastest man from Wednesday - filled the third slot for Ferrari. After a technical problem hampered him in the morning, he managed to complete just 30 laps in the dry and when the rain arrived after lunch, the Brazilian covered a further eight laps. Ferrari will be back on track on May 8 in Italy at the Fiorano circuit, where tester Luca Badoer will shakedown the team’s cars, ahead of the forthcoming race in Barcelona.

Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella was fourth fastest, as he concentrated on fine tuning the R27’s set-up. Fisichella racked up 63 laps and also carried out a Bridgestone evaluation and a research programme.

“We completed most of our work this morning, when conditions were still dry,” explained Christian Silk, Renault’s chief test engineer. “Giancarlo was pretty happy with the car straight way, and to a large extent this reflects the good progress that we had made earlier in the week. Overall, we have enjoyed a good week's work, with perfect reliability, and the team has given maximum effort overall all four days. Given the changeable weather conditions, we have done as much work as possible on our technical problems, and collected lots of useful data to analyse back at the factory.”

Robert Kubica was fifth for BMW Sauber during his second day of testing at the circuit. Kubica concentrated on set-up, but with the arrival of rain switched to assessing the car’s wet-weather handling. Just three-tenths down on the Pole was Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher in sixth. Schumacher covered 49 laps, as he tested the TF107’s aerodynamics and suspension.

“We had no technical problems and we made it through most our programme,” explained the German. “Unfortunately we had rain at lunchtime but that is the same for everyone. After that we just concentrated on starts and system work. The week has gone well and I feel positive about the coming Grand Prix. When we come back here to Barcelona next week we will have a chance to see where we stand against the other teams.”

Honda, meanwhile, proved the slowest team of the day with test driver Christian Klien finishing in seventh. Klien spent the morning working on general car set-up before running various aero configurations, introduced by the Japanese team in a bid to improve the RA107’s braking stability.

All seven of the teams will now head back to their respective factories to continue development work, before returning to Barcelona next week for the Spanish Grand Prix on May 11-13.

Unofficial Thursday times from Barcelona:
1. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:21.066
2. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:21.267
3. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:21.483
4. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:21.876
5. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.098
6. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:22.359
7. Christian Klien, Honda, 1:22.807