by Russell Atkins

Christian Horner says he is optimistic Red Bull Racing has finally got the better of the reliability demons that have plagued the opening part of its season, and believes Montreal could just witness the squad's strongest performance yet.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit has shown an encouraging turn of speed throughout the early races, and has succeeded in getting one of its cars into the final top ten qualifying shoot-out on every occasion, with Mark Webber's sixth spot on the grid in Monaco last time out the highest position so far. On the back of a positive opening day's practice ahead of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix - with Webber even topping the timesheets for much of the second session - Horner is confident RBR has finally nailed down the reliability to match that evident raw pace.

"The performance of the car is continuing to get better," the team principal told in Montreal. "We worked through our own programme during practice and we are happy with the progress we are making.

"As everything is new this year we've had annoying issues that have caught us out through the introduction of new electronics, engine, chassis design and so on, but we have moved quickly to get on top of all of that.

"David (Coulthard) struggled to find an initial balance during the first session, but during the second session he found one he was much happier with and the result was he moved up the order. Mark from the first lap was very pleased with the way his car is performing. Moreover, his fastest lap was set on the hard tyre.

"I think it shows we've made another step forward. We were focussing on our own programme and longer runs on heavier fuel loads. We are quite confident."

RBR has only managed to get four points on the scoreboard thus far in 2007 - courtesy of Coulthard's fifth place in Barcelona - though a good deal more have gone begging through various failures on the car. Horner is well aware of the need to start finishing races, but he is adamant that with that goal hopefully now accomplished, points will follow as a matter of course.

"The plan is to repeat what we did in Monaco," he asserted, "but see it through this time and get both cars into the top ten in qualifying. If possible we want to get in amongst the big boys and on one of the first three rows of the grid.

"Reliability gets a pounding around here, but we got through a lot of laps in practice and had no major issues on that front. If there were points for qualifying we would be looking ok at the moment, but you've got to be there at the finish."



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