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Valencia 1: Klien beats the wind

Christian Klien overcame the ultra low temperatures and very blustery conditions at Valencia in Spain on Tuesday to set the fastest time on this week's first day of testing - delivering more joy for Red Bull Racing

Although Klien's pace owed more to the fact that he was one of the few drivers still running with a 2004-spec car rather than any dramatic increase in the team's performance, the result will still be a cause for lifting spirits at RBR following a few weeks of turmoil.

As the windy conditions played havoc with the test, making the entry to the tight first corner a gamble each time, several drivers did not push to the limit - but Klien still managed to outpace Antonio Pizzonia by one tenth of a second.

Pizzonia's performance in outpacing fellow Williams driver Nick Heidfeld will act as another boost to his hopes of landing the second Williams seat this year, but the times were not completely representative after Heidfeld suffered an engine problem late in the day.

Fernando Alonso gave cause for Renault's optimism about its R25 to be entirely justified when he set the third fastest time on his first laps in the new car, despite a minor technical problem and an off-track excursion at one point due to the windy conditions.

Behind him, Takuma Sato got his hands on the new BAR007 a day earlier than expected after test driver Enrique Bernoldi was forced to pull out of the test on doctor's advice after going down with a throat infection.

The windy conditions meant Sato focused more on the car's mechanical set-up than aerodynamic developments and, although putting in only one run on new tyres near the end of the day, the Japanese ace was delighted with his first impressions of the new car.

"This is the first time I have driven the car properly, because I only did six laps at Barcelona last week and 10 laps at Silverstone before that," he told autosport.com.

"It is very hard to say how good it is, but with all the set-up changes that I have done the car has responded very well. The car felt very logical and it was good that it was so responsive. But I would like to see the car in less windy conditions - because it was very dangerous today."

It was not all good news for BAR, though, because Anthony Davidson was forced to park the 2004 Concept Car with an engine failure - Honda's third such problem in the space of a week.



Christian Klien (Red Bull Racing) 1m11.241s, 87 laps
Antonio Pizzonia (Williams) 1m11.352s, 57 laps
Fernando Alonso (Renault) 1m11.770s, 16 laps
Takuma Sato (BAR) 1m11.831s, 84 laps
Nick Heidfeld (Williams) 1m12.293s, 66 laps
David Coulthard (McLaren) 1m12.412s, 53 laps
Anthony Davidson (BAR) 1m12.671s, 77 laps
Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) 1m12.676s, 78 laps
Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) 1m12.833s, 34 laps
Olivier Panis (Toyota) 1m13.259s, 45 laps

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