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Lotus says true pace not shown yet

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Melbourne 2011Lotus is adamant that it did not show its true pace in free practice in Melbourne and will be more competitive over the rest of the weekend.

The team appeared to have made little progress from its first season as Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli were five seconds off the pace in practice, and in their 2010 position ahead of the other 'new' teams but a second away from those ahead.

But technical chief Mike Gascoyne said technical issues and trouble getting tyres up to speed had conspired to prevent Lotus getting the most out of its car.

"In the second session we had a fuel pressure problem on Jarno's car and an electronics issue on Heikki's car, both of which limited our running, but we were able to solve those issues and work through most of the afternoon's plan," he said.

"For tomorrow there is a lot more to come from the car. We are clearly not quite where we expected to be in performance terms but we understand the reasons for that - it is proving quite tricky for us to get the best out of the tyres but we will work on that tonight and when we improve I am confident we will move up to where we expect to be in qualifying tomorrow."

Team boss Tony Fernandes shared Gascoyne's confidence.

"It was one of those days that are not so good for us but this is a continuous journey and while we have work to do I'm confident we are moving in the right direction for the year ahead," he said.

"It is a real mark of where we are now that the comments from the rest of the team are expressing disappointment with today. As a team principal it is actually very pleasing to hear that a performance that a year ago we would have been thrilled about is now being seen as us not meeting our targets, and that shows us all just how far we have already come.

"The team may not see it right now but this is huge progress, so I am happy and looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

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