Rubens Barrichello set the pace today at Jerez in Spain, although once again poor weather continued to affect the action with frequent heavy rain showers and strong winds disrupting preparations for F1 2010.

Barrichello completed almost 100 tours, the most of anyone runner, in his Cosworth-powered Williams FW32. The Brazilian's best lap was a 1 minute 27.145 seconds, which was around seven tenths up on his closest rival. He spent the day focusing on set-up work and systems checks.

"Rubens finished off another wet day in Jerez having covered a lot of mileage for reliability," summarised Williams technical director, Sam Michael. "He also completed some systems checks and carried out a programme of pit stop practice. All the pit stops were done under wet conditions and we're working on some refinements for tomorrow."

Vitaly Petrov meanwhile was second and 'best of the rest' for Renault. He did 56 laps in total and despite once again not getting any dry running, he remained upbeat.

"It was cold and wet once again today, but we still did some useful work in the wet conditions and practiced pit stops, which is good experience for me," he said. "I'm now hoping that the final test in Barcelona will give us better weather so I can do some dry running before we arrive in Bahrain."

"It was another frustrating day with the changeable weather, but we made the most of it to run both the wet and intermediate tyres," added Renault's chief engineer, Alan Permane. "In the afternoon, when the track was damp, we chose to carry out some procedural work, including practicing some pit stops. Overall Vitaly was quite happy with the car and showed good pace today."

Sebastian Vettel, who was fastest on Wednesday, came in third for Red Bull Racing - three tenths off Petrov. He had hoped to do some more aero-testing and set-up work, but 'Mother Nature' had other ideas. The German thus ended up using full-wet tyres in the morning and wet and intermediate tyres in the afternoon. He completed 71 laps.

"Generally, the feeling with the car is good. The weather has been pretty bad over the last couple of days, which meant we couldn't do a lot of our planned testing, although it's been the same for everyone," Vettel stated. "It's a shame, as this is one of our three pre-season tests and last week the weather was quite bad also - it seems that Spain is not so happy to have us here!

"Nevertheless, we have still got some important work done and the car has been reliable; we didn't have any problems. Hopefully we will have better weather in Barcelona next week and conditions will improve here for Mark [Webber] over the next couple of days."

Further down the order Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa were fourth and fifth, the former having took over from Michael Schumacher. Rosberg completed a wet set-up programme in the morning, before focusing on race procedures including pit stops in the afternoon when the conditions became too poor for any meaningful running.

"On the positive side, we achieved some good mileage today despite the conditions and completed a lot of our systems work," said Rosberg, who did 71 laps at the wheel of the Mercedes GP W01. "It was useful for me to practice pit stops and get into the routine for the races.

"However it has been difficult and frustrating with the weather as we're obviously not able to learn as much as we could with a dry track. But that's the same for everyone and we will hope for an improvement over the next two days."

Massa was four tenths off Rosberg and he had a disrupted day, with a minor off and a mechanical issue hampering his programme. The Brazilian however still did 92 laps, which was considerably more than Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa, who opted to do just 35 kilometres - 8 tours.

"With the same mixed conditions as yesterday, it simply wasn't worth doing much driving today," explained the former McLaren test and reserve driver. "We have a good understanding of the car, and I'm looking forward to the next test in Barcelona, hopefully on a dry track."

"We gathered a lot of data yesterday in mixed conditions, which is why it didn't make sense today to complete a lot of laps just for the sake of running the car," added Sauber's test engineer, Thomas Hunsicker. "The weather forecast is better for tomorrow. That will give us the opportunity to continue working on our scheduled programme."

Force India's Paul di Resta and Vitantonio Liuzzi came in seventh and ninth, sandwiching the Virgin car of Timo Glock. Like on Wednesday, Force India opted to run two drivers in its lone VJM03. di Resta did 33 laps this morning, with Liuzzi taking over after lunch and adding another 24 to the team's tally.

"The weather was so difficult today with the constantly changing conditions. It seemed to rain every hour and then dry, but it never reached a stable level: it was either too dry for wets or too wet for dry tyres so you couldn't get a consistent indicator of the performance," Liuzzi reflected.

"We did a few pit stop simulations and runs to get a bit more information and the car still seems to be responding well to changes. In these conditions though it's very difficult to get a good understanding of what's going on but everyone has the same weather, we just have to do what we can."

Glock managed to split the two Force India men on the timesheets and with yesterday's hydraulic issues sorted he did 72 laps. His best time was a 1m 30.476s.

Of the rest McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and Lotus man Heikki Kovalainen brought up the rear. Hamilton and Buemi both broke the 50 lap marker, although both were limited by the conditions.

"The bad weather meant we could not get through all of our planned programme for today and we also lost a bit of time with a hydraulic problem," said Buemi. "So, it's a bit disappointing, but now I'm looking forward to the Barcelona test and hopefully some dry running."

Kovalainen was getting his first taste of the new Lotus T127, but in the end managed only 30 laps after an off-track excursion. A lack of spare parts meant he was unable to continue, although he will be back on track tomorrow when testing continues.

"I'm disappointed the day came to an early end," said the Finn, "but I feel good about the team and I'm looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow. My initial feeling from the car is good - it fundamentally feels right."

Friday will mark the penultimate day of testing at Jerez and while there is no change at Lotus in terms of the line-up, that is not the case elsewhere, quite the opposite.

At Renault for exmaple, Robert Kubica takes over from Petrov, while Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi come in for Ferrari, Mercedes and Sauber respectively. Williams and Scuderia Toro Rosso also bring in new blood, with Nico Hulkenberg replacing Barrichello, and Jaime Alguersuari in for Buemi. Vettel also bows out to make way for Mark Webber, while at Jenson Button takes over from Hamilton and Adrian Sutil is due back for FIF1.

To see the Jerez day two times CLICK HERE.


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