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Monza day three - Alonso on top as rain lifts 31 Aug 2007

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MP4/22 Formula One Testing, Day Three, Monza, Italy, 30 August 2007. World © Patching/Sutton

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso led the way at a rain-hit Monza on Thursday. The morning session was a write-off, but the storm clouds cleared after lunch allowing the teams to finally get in some meaningful running. The test has been extended into Friday as a result of Thursday’s poor conditions.

The track remained damp in places, slightly compromising running on dry tyres. Nevertheless, Alonso finished a second up on BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica after 51 laps during which he focused on long-distance runs and set-up for next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix. The world champion hands over to McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa on Friday.

Kubica, meanwhile, completed 48 laps in the F1.07, including several in wet conditions in order to accumulate data on Bridgestone’s standard wet tyre. The Pole will continue BMW’s planned programme on Friday.

David Coulthard took over from Mark Webber at Red Bull, putting the RB3 third in the times as he evaluated tyres and validated the aero work done by Webber earlier in the week. Coulthard was a tenth quicker than Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. Both men will be back in action on Friday.

In the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso, Tonio Liuzzi almost matched Massa's time. The Italian’s first day of the week comprised tyre and aero work and he too stays on for another day, as will Jenson Button, who was sixth-fastest for Honda after a similar programme in the RA107.

Nico Rosberg was seventh for Williams, just ahead of Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella. While Williams will test on Friday (again with Rosberg at the wheel), Renault have opted to head home and save some testing mileage for later in the year.

Ninth in the times went to Ralf Schumacher, who concentrated on brake and aero work for Toyota. His and the Japanese team’s focus will switch to mechanical set-up for Friday.

Like Renault, Spyker have opted to skip the final day and head back to their UK base after Sakon Yamamoto put another 72 laps on the B-spec F8-VII ahead of its planned race debut. The Japanese driver was tenth in the times, reporting the car easier to drive than its predecessor.

Anthony Davidson will be staying on for the Friday session with Super Aguri. The Briton was 11th fastest in the SA07 after a session that included a comprehensive race start simulation programme.

Unofficial Thursday times from Monza:
1. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:23.490
2. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:24.413
3. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:24.453
4. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:24.525
5. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso, 1:24.768
6. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:24.918
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:24.983
8. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:25.069
9. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:26.175
10. Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker, 1:26.384
11. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:35.106