Jerez 2: de la Rosa flies

McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa became only the second driver to lap Jerez under 1m16s, when he set the fastest time of the second day of the last major test of 2004

Jerez 2: de la Rosa flies

The Spaniard's time of 1m15.837s, was just two tenths slower than Michael Schumacher's unofficial record for the Spanish track.

"I was doing the long runs today," said de la Rosa, who was clearly happy with his day's work. "It's been very good, in fact it has been a complete day today and the tyres have been very good indeed." His car's Mercedes engine did blow up with 15 minutes to go, but the unit had completed its allotted mileage.

Antonio Pizzonia was second quickest. The Brazilian once again impressing for Williams and out-pacing team-mate Mark Webber by more than 1.5s (although the drivers were on different programmes). If he felt under any pressure to perform, given that the second Williams seat is potentially still up for grabs, he didn't show it and hinted that he was unconcerned that Nick Heidfeld was testing the car on Thursday.

The Brazilian was working on the new long-life Michelin tyres for next season and was impressed with their consistency.

"I did some long runs and it has been very good," he said. "In fact those tyres are much better in the long runs, than the softer ones that we have been using in the races this year! Initially these hard tyres are a bit more understeery but they are much more consistent in the long runs. So the difference in handling is not as big as expected.

"In the beginning you have to take more care because if you flat spot the tyres you are in trouble. I think Michelin will go one step or even two steps further to make it harder for the next test."

Jarno Trulli was quick again for Toyota to go third fastest ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya who completed 97 laps for McLaren. Ralf Schumacher was fifth fastest in the second Toyota despite an engine failure while Renault test driver Franck Montagny rounded out the top six.

David Coulthard made his testing debut for Red Bull (see separate story), the first time he has driven any contemporary F1 car other than a McLaren for ten years. The Scot was only three-tenths slower than Montoya (in DC's old car) and more the half a second quicker than the next fastest Red Bull driver despite not being comfortable in the car.

Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren), 1m15.837s, 110 laps
Antonio Pizzonia (Williams), 1m17.491s, 71 laps
Jarno Trulli (Toyota), 1m17.614s, 126 laps
Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren), 1m17.709s, 97 laps
Ralf Schumacher (Toyota), 1m17.727s, 83 laps
Franck Montagny (Renault), 1m18.061s, 69 laps
David Coulthard (Red Bull-Cosworth),), 1m18.079s, 61 laps
Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), 1m18.101s, 90 laps
Jenson Button (BAR-Honda), 1m18.155s, 45 laps
Mark Webber (Williams BMW), 1m18.178s, 75 laps
Christian Klien (Red Bull-Cosworth), 1m18.631s, 53 laps
Marc Gene (Ferrari), 1m18.789s, 108 laps
Luca Badoer (Ferrari), 1m18.906s, 114 laps
Anthony Davidson (BAR-Honda), 1m19.237s, 101 laps
Vitatonio Luizzi (Red Bull-Cosworth), 1m19.566s, 26 laps

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