Coulthard Sets Blistering Pace at Valencia - Day Three

Scot David Coulthard stormed to the top of the timesheets on the penultimate day of testing at the Valencia circuit.

Coulthard Sets Blistering Pace at Valencia - Day Three

Scot David Coulthard stormed to the top of the timesheets on the penultimate day of testing at the Valencia circuit.

The Red Bull driver, with a best time of 1:09.175, finished less than two tenths of a second off the track record, held by former teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Coulthard, whose team also worked with Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi, finished ahead of Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia, who wrapped up the Williams team's programme for the week.

Pizzonia worked alongside ETCC champion Andy Priaulx, who made his Formula One debut with Williams driving the second BMW-powered FW26. The Briton completed a total of 64 laps as he acclimatised to the demands of a Formula One car and put on a respectable performance despite finishing at the bottom of the times.

"First of all, I want to thank BMW and Williams for giving me this unique opportunity," said Priaulx. "It was the first time for me behind the wheel of a current Formula One car and it was a great experience, and completely different in every respect to anything I have done in the past.

"In the weeks before the test, I did special exercises under the guidance of a physiotherapist in order to prepare my neck muscles. It was worth every effort, as my neck hasn't hurt at all. A few weeks ago, I also arranged a test with my former Formula Three team to refresh my left-foot-braking, I'm pleased I did!

"I'd like to have achieved a better lap time, but, just as I went out on fresh tyres, testing was interrupted due to an incident by someone else on the track."

Spaniard Fernando Alonso was fourth quickest as he completed his programme with Renault's new R25 car, which will be officially launched next Tuesday. Alonso covered 87 laps and, despite two mechanical problems in the afternoon, he was the quickest of the drivers in 2005-spec cars.

Italian Jarno Trulli joined the test and drove the new Toyota TF105 alongside Olivier Panis. Trulli, fifth fastest, was the busiest man on track with 111 laps despite an engine failure during the session.

Japanese driver Takuma Sato had similar problems as the BAR team saw yet another Honda engine blowing up at Valencia. Sato, like teammate Jenson Button, drove the new 007 car.

Testing at Valencia ends tomorrow.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:09.175 99 2. Pizzonia Williams-BMW (M) 1:09.447 97 3. Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:10.224 100 4. Alonso Renault (M) 1:10.398 87 5. Trulli Toyota (M) 1:10.597 111 6. Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:11.140 83 7. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:11.282 91 8. Panis Toyota (M) 1:11.460 85 9. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:11.557 68 10. Priaulx Williams-BMW (M) 1:12.790 64 All Timing Unofficial

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