Raikkonen sets the pace

World champion quickest on Monaco-inspired layout

Kimi Raikkonen concluded day two of the three-day Formula One group test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France with the fastest time set so far this week.

On the shortened version of the track, measuring just 3.593km in order to optimise set-up ahead of next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, the World Champion posted a best time of one minute 5.381secs in his Ferrari F2008.

The Finn, who currently leads this year's championship standings, edged out countryman and McLaren Mercedes driver Heikki Kovalainen by 0.090secs.

Both drivers also improved on Wednesday's quickest effort from Lewis Hamilton, the Briton setting a time of 1:05.600secs.

Off the pace

BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica was third fastest; however, his time, around half-a-second slower than Raikkonen's, appears to underline the feeling after last weekend's Turkish Grand Prix that the German manufacturer has fallen off the pace set by Ferrari and McLaren.

Britons David Coulthard and Jenson Button were respectively fourth and fifth for Red Bull and Honda on the unofficial timesheets, followed by Sebastien Bourdais for Toro Rosso.

On home turf, the Frenchman at least did not wreck the team's new STR3 chassis as he did on its debut in last month's test in Barcelona.

Jarno Trulli was seventh for Toyota, with Nelson Piquet in close attendance in his Renault.

The Brazilian completed a remarkable 193 laps, almost 700kms, as he looks to atone for a poor start to his rookie season.

Williams' Kazuki Nakajima was ninth fastest of the 11 drivers on view as Force India's Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella split their team's driving duties, and were 10th and 11th respectively.

To conclude the test, the teams will on Friday use a different configuration of the track to replicate aspects of the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal for next month's Canadian Grand Prix.

Paul Ricard testing, day two:

1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:05.381 102 laps
2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 1:05.471 89
3 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:05.906 136
4 David Coulthard Red Bull Racing 1:06.001 82
5 Jenson Button Honda 1:06.091 155
6 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso 1:06.125 110
7 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:06.205 120
8 Nelson Piquet Renault 1:06.355 193
9 Kazuki Nakajima Williams 1:07.080 129
10 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:07.104 66
11 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India 1:07.123 64