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Karthikeyan breaks into 1:16 bracket
- F1 TESTING - Lap timings sliced as Jordan push further

Barcelona: Indian motorsport icon Narain Karthikeyan continued to impress in the testing sessions, breaking into the 1:16 bracket on the concluding day here.

Karthikeyan, driving for Jordan, recorded the fastest timing of 1:16:999 to finish fourth in a group of six drivers which took to the tracks at the circuit De Catalunya on the final day of testing before the first Grand Prix in Melbourne March 6. The 28-year-old and his Portugese teammate Tiago Monteiro concentrated on race simulation work for reliability testing and completed 83 and 120 laps, respectively.

The team's test driver, Nicky Pastorelli, 2004 Euro 3000 champion, also completed 29 laps. Fernando Alonso (1:13.967) of Renault was quickest on the final day of testing, followed by teammate Giancarlo Fisichella (1:14.064), Ralf Schumacher of Toyota (1:16.519), Narain Karthikeyan (1:16.999) and Jordan's Tiago Monteiro (1:17.560).

Commenting on the final day of testing, Monteiro said: 'Today was very important because every kilometre of running is valuable and as always, I wanted to do more than as had done in the week so far.

'So I was really eager to go out and do a lot of laps. We had planned our first qualifying and race simulation which we were a little bit anxious about, but it went very well ' I did 56 laps and two stops,' Monteiro said.

'We are getting slightly closer to the front, more or less three seconds from the fastest time, which is not bad considering how little running we have had. The whole week has been one of evolution. We have been through a lot, tried out a lot of things and learned a lot,' he added.

UNOFFICIAL TIMINGS

F. Alonso (Renault) (median) 1:13.971; G. Fisichella (Renault) (median) 1:14.074; R. Schumacher (Toyota) (median) 1:16.518; N. Karthikeyan (Jordan) (best) 1:16.999; T. Monteiro (Jordan) (best) 1:17.560; N. Pastorelli (Jordan) (best) 1:24.731.

(PTI)

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