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Page last updated at 17:31 GMT, Thursday, 18 February 2010

Heikki Kovalainen crash cuts short Lotus Jerez testing

Heikki Kovalainen crashes his Lotus
Kovalainen ended up in the tyre wall on his first run for Lotus F1

Lotus have been forced to abandon the second day of the third winter test in Jerez after Heikki Kovalainen knocked the front wing off their 2010 car.

The former McLaren driver slid off into the gravel and damaged the front wing as the wet weather continued in Spain.

Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne said a new front wing would not arrive until the early hours of Friday.

It was Kovalainen's first run in the Lotus F1, who are taking part in their first test since rejoining the grid.

The Finn had completed around 30 laps for Lotus before his off and was bottom of the timesheets with a best of one minute, 33.554 seconds, five seconds off the pace of Williams' leader Rubens Barrichello.

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Kovalainen said on his Twitter page: "Had a crash and damaged front wing, session over for us. My mistake. Friday we go again."

Gascoyne added on his Twitter page: "Slight off for Heikki. Knocked off the front wing. Spare on its way, but will not be here until 2am, so no more running.

"Starting to put the car back together. If we had a spare front wing would be out again today but have to wait until tomorrow."

The Malaysian-owned Lotus F1 team had a productive first day in Jerez on Wednesday with reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy completing over 70 laps, even though his best time was more than nine seconds off the pace.

But with Kovalainen behind the wheel on Thursday, there were echoes of last week's Jerez test when fellow newcomers Virgin Racing also suffered a front wing failure seven days ago.

Timo Glock had only done three short runs before the wing fell off and the car was not able to get on track until late afternoon the following day as the team also had to wait for spare parts to arrive.

The penultimate winter test has been dogged by wet weather and the rain continued to fall on Thursday, leaving teams unable to test the raw pace of their cars.

Ferrari, who had Felipe Massa at the wheel, said they were concentrating on race procedures such as pit-stops and driving under safety-car conditions.

"It's still not time to develop new solutions," the team said on their website. "For those who didn't have the possibility to drive on a dry track yet this bad weather might turn into a real problem."

Barrichello, who with 98 laps clocked the most mileage, topped the timesheets with 1:27.145 ahead of Renault rookie Vitaly Petrov, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes.

"Generally, the feeling with the car is good," said Vettel, who hands the car over to team-mate Mark Webber for the remaining two days.

"The weather has been pretty bad over the last couple of days. It seems that Spain is not so happy to have us here.

"Nevertheless, we have still got some important work done and the car has been reliable."



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see also
In pictures: Lotus winter testing
17 Feb 10 |  People and Places
Di Resta impresses at wet Jerez
17 Feb 10 |  Formula 1


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