De la Rosa fastest on Jerez day three

The track action continued at Jerez de la Frontera on December 9th with 13 drivers from eight teams at work on the Spanish circuit. McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa topped the times with a best of 1:17.293 and fellow team tester Alex Wurz was ninth quickest. De la Rosa used the Mercedes V10 engine and Wurz the V8 and their work focused on tyre comparisons and engine and set up development.

Pedro de la Rosa.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.

Nico Rosberg was the fastest V8 runner, his Williams second on the time sheet, just under two seconds down on de la Rosa. Mark Webber was also at work and was fifth on the final day of the team's three-day schedule. Rosberg will be back behind the wheel on Sunday to take part in a wet tyre test.

"We've again made good progress with all the mechanical components and systems checks on the interim FW27C, while Bridgestone have also moved forward since last week's test in Barcelona," said technical director Sam Michael.

Jenson Button was the lead Honda on the time sheet in third, and test driver Anthony Davidson was 10th overall. Once again both drivers ran the V8 engine and worked on tyre and engine evaluation on the last day of the team's test.

"Our test programme in Jerez this week has been extremely successful," said chief test engineer Mark Ellis. "The reliability of both Concept cars has been excellent which has allowed us to complete all of our intended activity. We have made solid progress in our understanding of the required solutions for the 2006 season."

Jarno Trulli continued for Toyota and was fourth fastest, while tester Ricardo Zonta replaced Ryan Briscoe and recorded the sixth quickest time. Tyres and set up were the focus for the day, although Zonta lost some time due to a fuel system problem.

"We are still at a very early stage in our relationship with Bridgestone and we are on a steep learning curve to find out how to get the most out of the tyres," Trulli said in regard to the new partnership. "Jerez is a fine track to work on that and I'm confident that we will make considerable progress over the winter."

Jacques Villeneuve was again the sole BMW Sauber driver present and was seventh. He was slightly hampered by a hydraulic leak in the morning but the problem was soon rectified. The Canadian worked on engine and systems checks and was satisfied progress is being made.

Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro were on track for MF1 Racing and were eighth and 11th fastest respectively. They shared duties in the EJ15B V10 and the interim EJ15B V8 and also worked on tyres. Albers continues tomorrow in the interim chassis and the team will also try out Markus Winkelhock, Roman Rusinov and Fabrizio del Monte.

"We have been able to add a lot more mileage to the Toyota V8 which has once again run very well today," said technical director James Key. "We overcame the issues we had yesterday which allowed us to add kilometres to the interim car. We still have a few issues to resolve but in general we are happy."

Team tester Marc Gen? was solo for Ferrari after Luca Badoer crashed on the first two days and was withdrawn from the test. Gen? clocked the 12th fastest time, working on the V8 engine in the F2004M chassis, and also tyre testing. The Spaniard continues on Saturday for the Scuderia.