McLaren's difficult pre-season build-up took an encouraging turn in today's Jerez test, as Heikki Kovalainen got down to a time of 1m18.202s on the team's penultimate day of running before Melbourne.
The Woking squad had lapped in the 1m19s bracket for the previous two days, and had struggled to match the pace set by Brawn and Renault, both of whom finished testing yesterday.
But McLaren's aerodynamic modifications appeared to take effect today, as Kovalainen produced a time within four tenths of a second of Jenson Button's benchmark from Tuesday.
Williams was the only other team still running at Jerez. Kazuki Nakajima completed 103 laps with a best time of 1m20.014s, 1.8 seconds off Kovalainen.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:18.202 79
2. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.014 103