A special day in Valencia for Lotus Racing as the cars of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen took to the track for Friday practice sporting one-off engine covers bearing the “500 Races” logo, celebrating the
500th Grand Prix the Lotus marque has taken part in. The team ran exactly 100 trouble free laps in total, with Heikki finishing the session 19th, and Jarno just behind in 20th after going out on track in chassis T127-04 for the first time.
Heikki Kovalainen (Chassis T127-01) FP1: 21 laps, best time 1.44.491, 19th / FP2: 31 laps, best time 1.42.467, 19th “I feel really good. It’s been an excellent Friday. We’ve made really good progress with the car, and every set up change we made seemed to be pushing us in the right direction, and in the end the tyres seemed to be working well over the long run. The track itself is good, it’s nice – a semi street circuit, but with a little more room than Monaco! It’s smooth, with quite a good grip level and all in all it’s quite good fun.
“I did arrive late today because of the French strikes – we had to drive down from Geneva and arrived early this morning. But I feel fine – it’s just one night with a little less sleep than usual, so it’s no big deal. My physio Petri and I shared the driving, so I feel absolutely fine.
“For Qualifying tomorrow, we’re going to try to push it to the maximum. Our aim is to get closer to the back of the established teams as much as we possibly can so I’m always pushing, always to the maximum, and let’s see where we are tomorrow afternoon!”
Jarno Trulli (Chassis T127-04) FP1: 18 laps, best time 1.47.285, 22nd / FP2: 30 laps, best time 1.42.993, 20th “It was a better day for me today after some of the luck I’ve been having. I had one or two gremlins, but it was a good day to shakedown the new chassis properly and make sure everything was working well. We got a good idea of where we want to be on the setup and the direction for Saturday and Sunday, so I think this was much better for me. On track there was good grip out there this afternoon, and the car felt good, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “It was a good day for us. Obviously the first session was dominated by tyres and the condition of the track, with a lot of graining on the fronts, but, as expected, the track cleaned up and we were able to get through the whole program with no real issues on either car. We’ve got a lot of data from today and I think we’re where we expected to be, but I think there’s more to come from the car, so I’m optimistic about our performance over the weekend.”
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: “I’ll be in Spain tomorrow to join Clive Chapman, his family and the whole team to enjoy this momentous race. I wanted to come in today, but couldn’t get a seat on AirAsiaX so I’ve had to jump on board one of the competition’s planes to get me in, but I’m very excited about the weekend ahead, particularly after the very solid start today. It’s been good to see our reliability return on both cars today, and I’m hopeful we can put in a good showing tomorrow and on Sunday.”
Take a look at Jarno’s Valencia preview on our YouTube channel – go to Jarno’s Valencia preview on YouTube
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