De la Rosa Shines at Barcelona

Pedro de la Rosa has made it clear that he is not going to give up on his chance of keeping hold of the second McLaren seat without a fight after stamping his authority on the opposition during the second day of testing at Barcelona in Spain on Wednesday

Amid growing suggestions that McLaren will actually hand the second race seat to reserve driver Alexander Wurz for the San Marino Grand Prix if Juan Pablo Montoya is not fit to return, de la Rosa was clearly fired up to prove a point when he outpaced Toyota's Ricardo Zonta by 0.125 seconds.

De la Rosa spent the day focusing on tyre work for Michelin on his only scheduled day of running and he and will hand over the car to Kimi Raikkonen for the rest of the test.

Fourth fastest Wurz has been given an extra two days of running to get comfortable in the MP4-20, with sources claiming that the outfit are gearing up to run the Austrian at Imola if he is fully comfortable in the car.

Zonta kept up Toyota's impressive early season pace with the second fastest time, as the Japanese manufacturer tested with two 2005-spec cars for the first time this year. The Brazilian began evaluation of some of the new aero package that is due to be introduced for Imola, although the final elements will not be ready for testing until Paul Ricard next week.

Toyota test driver Olivier Panis had been due to conduct tyre evaluation work for Michelin but his day was affected by an engine failure at the Seat corner immediately after lunch.

That incident came at exactly the same moment that Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella suffered an engine blow-up as well - highlighting further areas of concern for the French manufacturers' engine chiefs after his early retirement from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Fisichella had been due to evaluate an all-new front wing for the R25, with third quickest Fernando Alonso focusing on tyre work.

Behind fourth fastest Wurz, Williams duo Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Pizzonia had an incident-filled day after both brought out the red flags with identical spins at the Repsol corner. Pizzonia came off worst after hitting the barriers and causing light damage to the FW27.

Heidfeld managed to avoid the barriers but, when asked about his copycat spin, joked to Autosport-Atlas: "I just wanted to have a chat with Antonio."

Anthony Davidson was handed shakedown duties for a new BAR 007 chassis, while Jenson Button got down to work with the first elements of a new aerodynamic package that the team hope will transform the pace of the car at the San Marino Grand Prix.

With BAR not having tested at the resurfaced Barcelona this year, technical director Geoff Willis refused to be drawn on early impressions of the new aerodynamic parts. Button ran with a new diffuser today, with a new front and rear wing only due to make an appearance at Paul Ricard next week.

"It wasn't conclusive," he told Autosport-Atlas. "You cannot draw any conclusions from today, and you have to ignore the lap times. We hope to introduce the new aero package for Imola but it will not run in its entirety until Paul Ricard."

Further down the order Marc Gene continued tyre work for Ferrari in the F2004M, with the new F2005 turning up during the day ready for Rubens Barrichello's day of running on Thursday.

Red Bull's David Coulthard managed to bring out a red flag just two minutes from the end of the day's session with a minor spin.

Today's times:

Pos  Driver        Team-Engine         Tyres  Time     Laps
 1.  de la Rosa    McLaren-Mercedes     (M)  1:14.391   88
 2.  Zonta         Toyota               (M)  1:14.516   65
 3.  Alonso        Renault              (M)  1:14.946  118
 4.  Wurz          McLaren-Mercedes     (M)  1:15.178   65
 5.  Heidfeld      Williams-BMW         (M)  1:15.337  123
 6.  Pizzonia      Williams-BMW         (M)  1:15.442   54
 7.  Fisichella    Renault              (M)  1:15.462   78
 8.  Davidson      BAR-Honda            (M)  1:15.500  143
 9.  Gene          Ferrari              (B)  1:15.737  120
10.  Button        BAR-Honda            (M)  1:16.137  109
11.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth    (M)  1:16.385  111
12.  Panis         Toyota               (M)  1:17.153   47
13.  Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas      (M)  1:18.096   74

All Timing Unofficial

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