Ralf Fastest in Practice 4 - Spain

Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher set the fastest time of the weekend to lead the field in final practice for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix as home hero Fernando Alonso failed to shine on Saturday morning

Ralf Fastest in Practice 4 - Spain

Fans flocked to the circuit to watch champioship leader Fernando Alonso in action but they were left hoping for more in the afternoon qualifying session as he finished down in fifth.

Schumacher, who has looked on form all morning, finished with a time of 1:14.280, almost eight tenths of a second faster than McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa's previous fastest time set on Friday.

He finished 0.182 seconds ahead of second-placed Raikkonen with Juan Pablo Montoya, seemingly unaffected by his heavy crash on Friday, just behind his McLaren teammate in third place.

The pace of the McLaren cars, which have been modified for this weekend, could worry Renault, who are hoping to help Alonso thrill his fanatical home supporters by becoming the first home driver to win a Grand Prix in Spain.

Alonso has drawn a sell-out crowd to the Circuit de Catalunya for this weekend's race but he limited his running to just nine laps and finished 0.750 seconds off the pace in fifth, behind fourth-placed Williams driver Mark Webber.

Giancarlo Fisichella, in the second Renault, finished sixth fastest, just 0.018 seconds slower than his Spanish teammate, with Jarno Trulli, in the second Toyota, 0.807 seconds behind teammate Schumacher in seventh.

Nick Heidfeld finished eighth for Williams with David Coulthard ninth in his Red Bull Racing machine, ahead of the two Ferraris of Rubens Barrichello, in 10th, and World Champion Schumacher, in 11th.

After a long wait Alonso finally gave the fans what they wanted by appearing on track having not set a lap in the first session of the morning, and with ten minutes to run all 18 drivers had set a lap time.

Ralf Schumacher, who lead for most of the first session, was session leader again with a lap time of 1:14.280 and despite their best efforts nobody could better his impressive time.

By the final five minutes temperatures had increased to 20 degrees Celsius to allow Schumacher, Raikkonen, Alonso and Fisichella to all set times within the previous best time of the weekend, which was 1:15.062.

Webber and Montoya improved in the closing stages while Jordan driver Tiago Montiero stopped out on track having set the 16th fastest time after a total of 12 laps.

Pos  Driver        Team                   Time                  Laps
 1.  R.Schumacher  Toyota            (M)  1:14.280               13
 2.  Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:14.462  +    0.182   11
 3.  Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:14.672  +    0.392   12
 4.  Webber        Williams-BMW      (M)  1:14.689  +    0.409   11
 5.  Alonso        Renault           (M)  1:15.030  +    0.750    9
 6.  Fisichella    Renault           (M)  1:15.048  +    0.768   19
 7.  Trulli        Toyota            (M)  1:15.087  +    0.807   13
 8.  Heidfeld      Williams-BMW      (M)  1:15.253  +    0.973    6
 9.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:15.339  +    1.059   15
10.  Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  1:15.374  +    1.094   12
11.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  1:15.378  +    1.098   12
12.  Massa         Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:15.511  +    1.231   16
13.  Liuzzi        Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:15.546  +    1.266   14
14.  Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:16.291  +    2.011   11
15.  Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:17.569  +    3.289   14
16.  Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:17.848  +    3.568   12
17.  Albers        Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:19.031  +    4.751   14
18.  Friesacher    Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:19.296  +    5.016   14

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