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2 FEBRUARY 29 2012 motorsport-news.co.uk

IN THIS ISSUE

THE VOICE OF BRITISH MOTORSPORT ISSUE JA2810

“I am eager to fight for the title”

P4 Schuey upbeat on pace of new Mercedes challenger

P9

FORMULA FORD LEGEND RETURNS

Rick Shortle announces return after 25-year break

SKODA PLANS NEW IRC FABIA

P14

Czech outfit to develop S2000 replacement for 2014

P22

WHICH RACES TO WATCH IN 2012

MN’s guide to the best racing action of the season

P28

Historic race and rally news

12

Interview: Yves Matton

21

Insight:Racing events to watch 22 National racing calendar 24 Report:IRC Rally Azores 26 Report:BRC Rallye Sunseeker 28 SUBSCRIBETOMOTORSPORTNEWS 30 Sporting Scene round-up 32 Karting round-up 34 Letters/Comment/What’s On 36 Classifieds 38 Wanted: HRT to go fastest at the final F1 test. Just for the fun it would cause...

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BARCELONATESTINGTIMES

Day one POS DRIVER

Asterisk denotes 2011 car

TEAM TIME LAPS

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m 23.265s 79 2 Nico Hülkenberg Force India 1m 23.440s 97 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m 23.590s 114 4 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m 23.618s 76 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m 24.100s 75 6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m 24.150s 51 7 Sergio Pérez Sauber 1m 24.219s 66 8 Bruno Senna Williams 1m 25.711s 97 9 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m 26.035s 31 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m 26.809s 7 11 Charles Pic Marussia* 1m 28.026s 121

Day two POS DRIVER

TEAM TIME LAPS

1 Nico Hülkenberg Force India 1m 22.608s 112 2 Sergio Pérez Sauber 1m 22.648s 85 3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m 22.891s 104 4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m 23.180s 87 5 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m 23.639s 50 6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m 23.806s 120 7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m 24.555s 82 8 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m 25.738s 117 9 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m 26.605s 69 10 Charles Pic Marussia* 1m 27.343s 108

Day three POS DRIVER

TEAM TIME LAPS

1 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m 22.391s 106 2 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m 23.384s 127 3 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m 23.582s 99 4 Jenson Button McLaren 1m 23.918s 114 5 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m 24.433s 78 6 Mark Webber Red Bull 1m 24.771s 97 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m 24.771s 84 8 Paul di Resta Force India 1m 25.646s 83 9 Timo Glock Marussia* 1m 26.173s 108 10 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m 26.448s 70

Day four POS DRIVER

TEAM TIME LAPS

1 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m 22.312s 145 2 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m 22.561s 134 3 Paul di Resta Force India 1m 23.119s 101 4 Jenson Button McLaren 1m 23.200s 115 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m 23.563s 103 6 Mark Webber Red Bull 1m 23.774s 85 7 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m 23.792s 92 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m 23.843s 139 9 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m 26.968s 70

Button: Vettel is favourite

Red Bull had pr ob lems with car re liability

ByMatt James McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button believe that they will be within touching distance of Red Bull from the first race of the season.

The British aces have said that they are aiming to strike an early blow to rein in world champion Sebastian Vettel over the opening rounds of the fight for the 2012 crown. After completing 234 laps during the opening two days of the fourday test at Barcelona last week, Hamilton said: “We feel very comfortable and I amconfident that we can be at the front, fighting with the guys at the top.”

Button agreed that the duo can cut the advantage that Red Bull had last season, and thinks that the ban on blown diffusers is going to hurt the Milton Keynes-based squad: “There have been regulation changes and I still think Red Bull will be strong from the word go, but I don’t think they will have the advantage they had at the start of last year.” Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber completed less laps than the McLaren pair and the Australian’s attempt at a race distance run was thwarted by gearbox failure. It follows on from electronic problems that afflicted Vettel in the previous test at Jerez in Spain.

McLaren’s quick start Given the problems that have hampered Red Bull and the impressive long-run pace of the McLaren, world champion Vettel has expressed his concern that the Mercedes-powered team will prove

Button outpaced Webber in test to bemajor a thorn in his side during this season. Vettel said: “McLaren has looked very strong. I haven’t seen all the lap times yet, I have only had a couple of looks at the long runs that Lewis did – but they seemed to be quite interesting.

“I can only judge for myself and the feeling onmycar is fine, but I don’t knowwhether that is good enough. I think McLaren looks quite competitive so I think they will be strong straight from the beginning of the season.” His views were echoed by Button and Hamilton. Stevenage ace Hamilton ran for the first two days of the test while Vettel was in the Red Bull, before Button took over for the final two days and went up against Webber. Hamilton said hewas buoyed by the amount of laps he had been able to complete and that the preparation for the season wasmuch better than it had been 12 months ago. “Last year I think I struggled to do 30 laps. I think we struggled to do ten laps without the exhaust failing,” said the 2008 world champion. “I can’t remember the last time I did as many laps as I did in Barcelona.

“I was on used tyres for my long run and I think [Vettel] started with new tyres but generally he looked perhaps a little faster than us.”