McLaren-Mercedes driver Pedro de la Rosa was quickest for the second day running today [Thursday] at Jerez, as the teams present again enjoyed dry and sunny conditions.

The Spaniard completed 52 laps in total in the new 2004 McLaren - the MP4-19, his best a 1 minute 16.192 seconds - almost a second faster than yesterday's time [a 1m 17.153s], and also incidentally a new unofficial lap record.

Fernando Alonso was again second for Renault, the only other driver to break the 1m 16s barrier, while BMW WilliamsF1 duo Marc Gene and Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top four.

McLaren 'third' driver Alexander Wurz was fifth, followed by Franck Montagny, and Ferrari's Luca Badoer and Rubens Barrichello. The Scuderia spent the day working on an engine, tyre and electronics test programme, notching up over 100 laps.

Takuma Sato meanwhile was ninth, over a second up on his BAR-Honda team-mate Jenson Button, who was 14th, while Toyota's Cristiano da Matta rounded out the top ten.

In total 16 cars were on track - Neel Jani taking over from Felipe Massa at Sauber, and Ho-Pin Tung made history, when he became the first Chinese driver to drive an F1 car, notching up 38 laps in the 2002 Williams-BMW - the FW24.

"After driving a 140bhp Formula BMW car last season, stepping into a 900bhp Formula One car was terrifying as well as the fulfilment of a lifetime's ambition in equal measure," commented Tung, "It is of course a matter of some pride to also be the first Chinese driver to get behind the wheel of such a prestigious Formula One Car."

Testing concludes at Jerez tomorrow [Friday].

Leading times (11 December) - Jerez:

1. Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1m 16.192s 52 laps M
2. Fernando Alonso Renault-Renault 1m 16.669s 115 laps M
3. Marc Gene Williams-BMW 1m 17.128s 93 laps M
4. Juan Montoya Williams-BMW 1m 17.310s 58 laps M
5. Alexander Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1m 17.633s 66 laps M
6. Franck Montagny Renault-Renault 1m 17.810s 105 laps M
7. Luca Badoer Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 18.319s 75 laps B
8. Rubens Barrichello Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 18.341s 54 laps B
9. Takuma Sato BAR-Honda 1m 18.412s 70 laps M
10. Cristiano da Matta Toyota-Toyota 1m 18.575s 70 laps M
11. Christian Klien Jaguar-Cosworth 1m 18.732s 85 laps M
12. Olivier Panis Toyota-Toyota 1m 18.816s 66 laps M
13. Mark Webber Jaguar-Cosworth 1m 18.872s 71 laps M
14. Jenson Button BAR-Honda 1m 19.647s 49 laps M
15. Neel Jani Sauber-Petronas 1m 20.257s 94 laps B
16. Ho-Pin Tung Williams-BMW 1m 22.385s 38 laps M

M - denotes Michelin tyres
B - denotes Bridgestone tyres

Weather / track conditions: Sunny.

 

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