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De la Rosa enjoys 'most productive test yet' for Pirelli 04 Nov 2010

Pedro de la Rosa during Pirelli tyre testing at Le Castellet, France, November 2010 © Pirelli Pedro de la Rosa during Pirelli tyre testing at Valencia, Spain, October 2010 © Pirelli 
Pedro de la Rosa during Pirelli tyre testing at Barcelona, Spain, October 2010 © Pirelli Pirelli tyres. GP3 Series Testing, Paul Ricard, France, 4-5 March 2010.

Pirelli's Formula One testing programme has rolled past the 7000-kilometre mark after former BMW Sauber driver Pedro de la Rosa resumed his duties at the Le Castellet circuit in southern France this week at the wheel of Toyota's TF109. Le Castellet, otherwise known as the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track, boasts a wide variety of configurations.

De la Rosa, who had not driven on the French circuit since 2006, completed a total of 315 laps or 1118.5 kilometres during the two-day test, notching up 158 laps on the opening day and 157 laps on the second. The Spaniard tested Pirelli's soft and super-soft compound rubber over short and long runs on the 3.551-kilometre configuration, as the Italian company gears up for its Formula One return in 2011.

"These have been two of the most productive days of testing that we have seen yet, and I'm particularly encouraged by the consistency of the times that we managed to set on both the short and the long runs, demonstrating that the tyres are quick to reach a constant level of peak performance,” said De la Rosa.

“There were a number of interesting solutions that we have started to investigate in depth. We enjoyed perfect reliability from the car and the tyres, which allowed us to cover more than a thousand kilometres and take some important steps forward in the development programme."

The first morning of the test was affected by damp conditions, which meant De la Rosa had an unscheduled opportunity to run on Pirelli's wet tyres. Once the track was dry, he carried out a number of short runs with the soft-compound tyre, before switching to longer runs at the end of the first day.

Conditions were sunny throughout the second day, with temperatures peaking at 25 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. In the morning De la Rosa continued work on tyre construction, trying out Pirelli's latest evolutions resulting from the data gained from previous tests. In the afternoon, he sampled Pirelli's super-soft compound rubber for the first time.

Like the soft rubber, this is also an 'option' tyre, used to generate maximum grip and performance. Once more De le Rosa combined short runs of seven laps and longer runs of 20 laps, driving until daylight became marginal just before 1700 hours local time.

"Once more, Pedro's knowledge and feedback has given us some valuable information to finalise the second compound that we will bring to Abu Dhabi, as we finish our testing in Europe this month,” concluded Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery. “Next week's test at Paul Ricard will enable us to complete our test programme on wet and intermediate tyres, taking advantage of the facilities available there."

Pirelli will continue testing at Le Castellet over two days next week, taking advantage of the circuit's modern facilities to complete their European test schedule before the Formula One teams get their first chance to sample Pirelli's tyres after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of the month.

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