Rain Hinders Teams at Paul Ricard

Day two of testing at Paul Ricard had the test teams present wishing they hadn't signed up to a limitation of testing, as the constant rain put paid to most of their programmes

Rain Hinders Teams at Paul Ricard

Clouds loomed over the region right from the start of the day, but the circuit notified the teams that their weather forecast advised there would be no rain until after 1.00pm. Unfortunately a look at the local television forecast would have been more useful, stating as it did that inclement weather would arrive far earlier.

And so it proved - at 10.00 it started spitting, and within half an hour the circuit was drenched with water, leaving the teams with little useful work to do. The two McLaren drivers and Renault's Heikki Kovalainen put in a few runs in the rain, to test their intermediates and to gain time on understanding the car respectively.

Jenson Button's return to testing was less than auspicious - he had a new Honda engine to test, along with an aerodynamic programme to establish wing levels for Bahrain, but a lack of running meant little was achieved on the day by either Button or teammate Anthony Davidson, who was in the old car to work on tyres.

McLaren probably achieved the most out of the teams present - as they had two old cars they had less to lose, and ran the largest number of laps. Most of the runners were trying to establish the right tyre to take to Bahrain, which meant that the day was largely wasted.

"The weather conditions were challenging today," McLaren tester Alex Wurz, "however during the wet weather we successfully completed intermediate tyre testing, and when the track dried out I was able to concentrate my programme on further development of the Michelin dry tyres."

The fastest times were all set in the initially dry period first thing in the morning except for Ricardo Zonta, who made use of a 30-minute dry period around 3.00pm to set his time. Zonta was running in an old chassis, but curiously was the only driver testing a new casing for Michelin, which is being developed for later in the season.

Kovalainen was probably the most disappointed driver on the day, as he had been planning to run a lot of laps to better come to terms with the car. Teammate Franck Montagny seemed to also be in the wars - he stopped on track with a problem on the car.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli stopped on track later in the day; when the car was brought back to the pits it was discovered that he had damaged the chassis while running over a kerb, and the team subsequently packed up and left as they were unable to effect sufficient repairs at the track.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:03.848 69 2. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:04.496 93 3. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:04.593 107 4. Montagny Renault (M) 1:04.695 71 5. Kovalainen Renault (M) 1:04.843 101 6. Davidson BAR-Honda (M) 1:05.180 44 7. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:06.434 74 8. Trulli Toyota (M) 1:06.725 40
All Timing Unofficial
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