Team McLaren-Mercedes concluded their four-day test at Jerez today [Sunday], on a high, with Kimi Raikkonen breaking the Williams stranglehold at the top of the times.

Raikkonen completed 32 laps in total, his best a 1 minute 16.074 seconds, as he continued running in the new 2004 McLaren, the MP4-19. For the record, the Finn's time is the best of the five-day session thus far, eclipsing the previous marker set by Ralf Schumacher yesterday, by some three tenths of a second. It is also a new lap record - held until today by Pedro de la Rosa [a 1m 16.210s].

Although Williams weren't top today, they weren't very far behind either - Ralf four hundredths off the 'Ice man' in second, while 'third' driver Marc Gene was third, in the second Williams.

Sam Michael, chief operations engineer at WilliamsF1, told the teams' official website: "Ralf and Marc continued the testing schedule today with Ralf concentrating on set up work of the FW26 this morning prior to completing some tyre testing and electronics work this afternoon.

"Despite the gearbox problem we encountered, Ralf is happy with the new car but has identified some areas, which still require improvements.

"Marc successfully completed the endurance run he started yesterday in the FW25B and finished the session in the FW25A performing some electronics and systems work."

McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa meanwhile was next up, fourth overall, while Ryan Briscoe and BAR-Honda duo, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato completed the top seven, the only other runners in action. BAR notched up only 74 laps today, as technical woes [engine related] again hindered preparations for the coming season.

Testing continues at Jerez tomorrow [Monday].

Leading times (11 January) - Jerez:

1. Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes 1m 16.074s 32 laps M#
2. Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 1m 16.110s 87 laps M#
3. Marc Gene Williams-BMW 1m 16.245s 63 laps M
4. Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1m 17.237s 117 laps M#
5. Ryan Briscoe Toyota-Toyota 1m 18.422s 103 laps M
6. Jenson Button BAR-Honda 1m 18.563 39 laps M
7. Takuma Sato BAR-Honda 1m 19.837s 35 laps M

M denotes Michelin tyres.
B denotes Bridgestone tyres.
# denotes 2004 car.

Weather / track conditions: Dry.

All times unofficial.



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