Undeterred by countryman Christijan Albers' departure from the team, Giedo van der Garde completed the opening day of Spyker's latest F1 test, at Spa-Francorchamps, on Tuesday, and was pleasantly pleased by his proximity to the cars ahead.

The Dutchman, who has been touted as a possible replacement for Albers following the erstwhile race regular's exit over unpaid sponsorship, was the slowest of the eleven drivers on track, but was just three-tenths adrift of Honda's Christian Klien - ironically, the favourite to partner Adrian Sutil in future races - and within a second of Tonio Liuzzi and Nico Rosberg, who filled places eight and nine on the timesheet.

"It was a good day today," reported van der Garde, whose prospective father-in-law is an investor in the Spyker car company, "We worked steadily through the programme and I was very pleased with the performance. It's a long lap, nearly 7km, so it's good to be so close to the fastest cars.

"We worked on downforce levels and the set-up and, while it was a shame that we couldn't try out the softer tyre option available as I think we could maybe have gone even quicker, I think we got a good baseline for the rest of the test."

Spyker enjoyed a trouble-free day, with van der Garde building on his Silverstone test three weeks ago, to put in nearly 350km worth of running as the team worked on aero development and general set-up work.

"We were pleasantly surprised by the weather today, and were able to complete a very satisfactory programme with Giedo," chief race and test engineer Dominic Harlow confirmed, "The build of the car here includes many development components in all the major systems, which all need mileage and data collection before they can race. In addition, the team carried out some aerodynamic and brake system tests."

Adrian Sutil will take over the reins for the second day of the test on Wednesday.



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