Alonso puts Renault on top at Jerez

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    Alonso puts Renault on top at Jerez

    Post by Ross on 4th March 2009, 13:48

    Alonso puts Renault on top at Jerez

    Fernando Alonso provided the first real glimpse of Renault’s potential this season by setting the testing pace at Jerez on Wednesday.

    The Anglo-French squad has had an undistinguished winter so far, lagging well behind the fastest teams on the timesheets – although it made encouraging gains on the final day of the last Jerez test in February.

    This time Alonso took the R29 to the top of the order with a best lap of 1m19.945s, 0.13s shy of Timo Glock’s Tuesday benchmark, as Renault wrapped up its work at the Spanish circuit.

    Other than some light drizzle at lunchtime conditions were dry, but strong winds in the afternoon affected the cars’ handling and complicated set-up evaluation.

    Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest, three-tenths of a second adrift of Alonso, as he worked on the set-up and reliability of the Ferrari F60.

    Nick Heidfeld was a further quarter of a second back in the BMW Sauber F1.09, closely followed by Toyota’s Jarno Trulli.

    Heidfeld had a varied day’s work, focusing on mechanical set-up, tyres, brakes, start simulations and even a ‘run out of fuel run’ whereby he stopped out on the circuit as part of a standard procedure intended to allow the engineers to compare telemetry readings with the car’s actual fuel level.

    Trulli was one of the few drivers to find a significant amount of lap time in the afternoon, but had to abandon a race simulation when a fuel rig problem forced him back to the garage.

    “That was a difficult day for us because our programme was disrupted,” said Trulli.

    “The main problem throughout the day was the wind.

    “It was gusting and making it hard to make the comparisons we were looking for.

    “We did set-up work in the morning and we attempted a race distance in the afternoon until we had a problem with the fuel rig.

    “We still put in a lot of laps and we put in our best lap later than most teams in the day.

    “So we can be optimistic about that but overall today was hard work.”

    Mark Webber was fifth quickest for Red Bull Racing ahead of Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams, with Lewis Hamilton a low-key seventh for McLaren after sitting out much of the morning running due to a delay in fitting new parts to the rear suspension of the MP4-24.

    Adrian Sutil rounded up the times in the new Force India on the team’s final day at Jerez, finishing 1.5s off the ultimate pace.

    “We had a good end to the test today,” said technical director James Key.

    “Fortunately it stayed dry again so we were able to get a lot more information.

    “We tried some different tyre compounds today, saw how they behaved and tried some set-up changes where we spotted some encouraging trends.

    “It has set us up well for the final test next week in Barcelona, where we hope to continue our strong progress so far.”

    Testing times from Jerez (Wednesday 4 March)

    1. ALONSO Renault 1m19.945s
    2. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1m20.250s
    3. HEIDFELD BMW 1m20.520s
    4. TRULLI Toyota 1m20.540s
    5. WEBBER Red Bull 1m20.894s
    6. NAKAJIMA Williams 1m20.948s
    7. HAMILTON McLaren 1m21.302s
    8. SUTIL Force India 1m21.411s


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