BMW Sauber's Timo Glock set the pace at Jerez on Tuesday, as all the teams began what is the final test for the 2007 season, ahead of the three fly-away events in Japan, China and Brazil.

Glock, who currently leads the race for the GP2 championship - F1's feeder series - completed 71 laps in total, his best a 1min 20.606secs effort, the only driver to break the 1min 21sec bracket.

The German spent the day working on aerodynamics and general set-up, as well as testing development parts for 2008.

"Timo worked hard and provided valuable feedback," said the Swiss-based outfit in their end of day press release. "All in all, the day was very positive for the team. Nick [Heidfeld] will now take over the driving tomorrow. He will do some general set-up and development work."

Vitantonio Liuzzi, somewhat surprisingly, headed the chasing pack for Toro Rosso, albeit more than half a second slower than Glock.

Liuzzi was the only race driver in action other than Rubens Barrichello, and he clocked up 90 laps in his STR-02, the most of any one runner, while investigating new set-up methods and evaluating braking materials.

He will continue testing tomorrow morning, before team-mate, Sebastian Vettel takes over for the remaining day and a half.

Fellow Red Bull runner Sebastien Buemi was next up in third, less than three-hundredths slower for the 'A' team. He did 59 laps in total and, despite a transmission problem, which brought his day to a premature close, he did plenty of useful work while familiarising himself with the RB3. Mark Webber will replace the Swiss driver for days two and three.

Of the rest, Franck Montagny was fourth for Toyota, the Frenchman ending the day having done 72 tours in total, his best effort a 1m 21.555s, while focusing mainly on prep for the Japanese GP.

He will hand over his TF107 to Ralf Schumacher tomorrow, who will continue to refine the new Fuji aero package.

"It was quite a good day," said Franck. "We got through a lot of work, most of it in race specification, and it was interesting. I had a few problems with oversteer in the morning, which was wearing the rear tyres, but part of that was down to track conditions.

"The situation improved in the afternoon when we changed the set-up and worked on the front and rear wings and the floor - basically the latest aero package for Fuji. By the end of the day I think we had quite a good understanding of things. Personally, it was the first time I had been in the car for about a month and a half, so I enjoyed the day."

"Everything we had on our schedule got done, which is always satisfying," added Toyota test team manager, Gerd Pfeiffer. "We have established a good baseline and will continue to concentrate on aerodynamic and set-up work with the race drivers on Wednesday and Thursday. We can be quite happy with our opening day."

Further down the order, Pedro de la Rosa was fifth for McLaren, followed by Renault's Nelson Piquet and Honda's Rubens Barrichello, who was fractionally slower than his fellow countryman.

Piquet Jr began the day by focusing primarily on 2008 software systems. He then switched to brake and aerodynamic testing for the Chinese Grand Prix, before a mechanical problem in the afternoon limited his running. Despite that though he still did over 60 laps and was pleased with his day in the R27.

"I was really looking forward to driving today, especially because I will be in the car every day this week, which is the first time I have had this opportunity since I joined the team," he noted.

"I felt comfortable with the car straight away, and the pace was OK. I will be aiming to bring the maximum to the team tomorrow as well, to ensure we have done the best possible preparation for the final three races of the year."

"We made good progress this morning, Nelson got to grips with things quickly and we achieved our targets. The problem this afternoon was a little disappointing, but we had a productive first day even so," added Renault chief test engineer, Christian Silk.

"There are two days left, and lots to do. We will be looking to achieve as much mileage as possible before the end of the week."

Kazuki Nakajima was eighth for Williams, notching up 87 tours in his FW29.

"Kazuki opened our first day of testing at Jerez today," noted Williams test team manager, Dickie Stanford. "In readiness for the remaining three rounds of the season, we've been working through some fairly thorough systems checks, with much of the emphasis on Fuji. Nico [Rosberg] will take over tomorrow."

Luca Badoer brought up the rear for Ferrari, the Italian working on electronics for 2008 and on finding the best set-up for the car in this configuration. He did just 38 laps though and finished the day more than two seconds off the pace, assumingly due to some sort of problem.

Testing now continues on Wednesday.

Testing times (18 September) - Jerez:

1. Timo Glock BMW Sauber 1min 20.606secs 71 laps
2. Vitantonio Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1min 21.280secs 90 laps
3. Sebastien Buemi Red Bull-Renault 1min 21.309secs 59 laps
4. Franck MontagnyToyota-Toyota 1min 21.555secs 72 laps
5. Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1min 21.651secs 46 laps
6. Nelson Piquet Jr Renault-Renault 1min 22.009secs 63 laps
7. Rubens Barrichello Honda-Honda 1min 22.020secs 79 laps
8. Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1min 23.177secs 87 laps
9. Luca Badoer Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 23.432secs 38 laps

all times unofficial - courtesy Renault

Track/weather conditions: Sunny and dry: Track temperature, 50.0?C / Ambient temperature, 27.1?C.

 

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