Alonso goes fastest in Jerez test

Fernando Alonso moved to the head of the times for Renault on day four of this week's Jerez test

Alonso goes fastest in Jerez test

After a low-key start, the Renault R29 has shown increasing pace in recent tests, and Alonso underlined that improvement today by lapping in 1:19.945, 0.3 seconds quicker than his nearest rival, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

"I'm very happy with the result from this test as we had two trouble-free days, a very consistent car and the work we have done has been very useful," said Alonso.

The weather again interrupted the test, with strong winds hampering teams' efforts to put mileage on their 2009 cars.

"The main problem throughout the day was the wind," said Jarno Trulli, who was fourth fastest for Toyota. "It was gusting and making it hard to make the comparisons we were looking for."

Nick Heidfeld completed the top three for BMW, followed by Trulli and Red Bull's Mark Webber.

World champion Lewis Hamilton took over the McLaren from teammate Heikki Kovalainen but was only seventh quickest, between Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) and Adrian Sutil (Force India). Hamilton also lost time during the morning when he had to stop while the team worked on his car's rear suspension.

Sutil was content with the new Force India, but had difficulty with the Bridgestone slicks.

"We tried the soft, supersoft and medium compounds," he said. "On the long runs they behaved quite differently and the biggest problem was with the graining. It happens very quickly, then gets worse and the grip never comes back.

"We are talking big differences in lap times - I have never had such a big graining issue, but I can see nearly everyone is struggling with a similar problem."

Force India and Renault are now heading back to their factories prior to next week's Barcelona test, but the other six teams are staying on at Jerez for a final day of running tomorrow.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Alonso Renault (B) 1:19.945 129 2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:20.250 104 3. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:20.520 98 4. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:20.540 131 5. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:20.894 107 6. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.948 83 7. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:21.302 70 8. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:21.411 79 All Timing Unofficial 

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