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Bahrain day two - sandstorm curtails running at Sakhir 11 Feb 2009

A sandstorm stops running early on day two. The red light at the end of the pitlane. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, 11 February 2009. © Sutton A sandstorm stops running early on day two. The emergency helicopter is unable to fly. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, 11 February 2009. © Sutton Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, 11 February 2009. © Sutton

By choosing to journey to Bahrain this week, Ferrari, BMW Sauber and Toyota have avoided the rain that blighted their tests in Europe last month. But the teams haven’t managed to escape disruptive conditions altogether, with a sandstorm hampering their second day of running at the Sakhir track on Wednesday.

Although Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Toyota’s Timo Glock and BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica did get in some early laps, the wind picked up and sand quickly covered the circuit. With visibility too poor for the medical helicopter to fly, the session was red-flagged soon after and remained suspended for the rest of the day.

From the laps completed before the closure, Massa proved to be the fastest in action, setting a best time of 1m 33.639s. The Brazilian tested different set-ups for the F60 and evaluated the KERS device, covering 17 laps. Kimi Raikkonen will be hoping for a smoother day’s running when he takes over the cockpit on Thursday.

"Obviously it's slightly frustrating that we could hardly drive today, due to the wind and the sand," Massa explained. "But there's nothing we can do about it. We just have to accept it. Although I have to say I'm quite satisfied with the work done so far here at Sakhir. Yesterday we drove many kilometres and the car was better than at Mugello, more stable and easier to drive, with constant lap times.

"The team has been working very hard over the last weeks as far as the setup is concerned and we could already see the results. There's still a lot of work to do here and in other areas, but I think that we're heading in the right direction."

Kubica posted the second best time in the F1.09 after completing 22 laps, whilst Tuesday’s fastest runner, Glock, finished the day in third after clocking up 14 laps in the TF109. The German had intended to carry out an aero evaluation before the sandstorm moved in.

"That was short and sweet for us today,” he said. “After our positive day of running yesterday we had another full programme planned but the weather had other ideas. I could feel the strong wind during the laps that we did manage in the morning. Then the sandstorm put an end to the day's action. That's frustrating because the car is showing good promise so we will hope for better conditions in the coming days."

Testing continues at the Bahrain circuit on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Bahrain:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:33.639
2. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:34.398
3. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:34.902