Motorsports: Sutil steps up pace for Force India

March 4th, 2009 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerez (Spain), March 4 (IANS) Force India had reason to cheer as their second driver Adrian Sutil posted the fourth quickest time of one minute, 20.535 seconds on the penultimate day of the four-day official test here.
With dry weather prevailing for much of Tuesday, Sutil had his first outing in the new VJM09 machine and his best lap time was an improvement over team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella’s 1:21.584 clocked on the first day.

Incidentally, Sutil, who put in 63 laps, was barely a tenth slower than McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen who clocked a best of 1:535.

Effectively, Force India is all but a mirror image of the world champion team McLaren who are supplying Vijay Mallya’s cars with engine, gearbox, hydraulic system and the all-important KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System).

Force India devoted much time to complete some set-up work, tyre comparison and also evaluate some test items, including the ’shark’s fin’ engine cover used from the mid season last year.

A driveshaft issue at the end of the morning led to some downtime. However progress resumed in the afternoon with Sutil completing short and mid-length runs.

Reflecting on his performance, Sutil said: “I think today was a good day. It was important to get into the car again and to get confident. The car was OK; there is definitely potential, and we were able to do more mileage and find some reliability in the afternoon.

“In the morning we had a little problem but we could fix it over lunch and start to do our programme. The tyres dominate a lot and the different compounds react differently; you have to find a good set up and get them to work and that is where we are concentrated now.

“We had some instability on the rear and oversteer. We are at least more reliable and can try and get some real mileage on the car now.”

Technical Director James Key said: “Adrian took over from Giancarlo today, really the first time he had driven the car in anger following the shakedown last week. As a result it was a learning experience for both him and us in many respects.

“The day was OK, we had a bit of downtime with a driveshaft issue, which we have already corrected, but it was good to have dry conditions and see a little bit more of what the car and tyres are doing.

“We were finally able to do some set-up work and have more direction and data on the tyres, so it has been productive. We also had some test items that we will continue to evaluate tomorrow.”

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