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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 18:24 GMT
New Renault breaks cover in test
Giancarlo Fisichella in the 2007 Renault F1 car at Jerez
Fisichella struggled with a dirty track before hitting engine trouble
The car with which Renault will defend their Formula One titles had its first serious test on Tuesday at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.

Giancarlo Fisichella, their lead driver following double champion Fernando Alonso's move to McLaren, did 33 laps before engine problems stopped the car.

The Italian said poor track conditions made evaluating the car difficult.

But he added that the car was "reacting as expected" and felt similar to the 2005 and '06 title-winning machines.

"That is a good sign at this stage," Fisichella said.

The R27 is running in an interim livery ahead of the team's official launch on 24 January.

Renault will continue work at Jerez on Wednesday, when Fisichella will be joined by his new team-mate and BBC Sport columnist Heikki Kovalainen in a second new car.

Technical director Bob Bell said: "We encountered the normal gremlins that you expect on any shakedown, but the initial signs and feedback from Giancarlo were positive."



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