Loeb testing for Red Bull at Barcelona

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The first test of the winter got underway today in Spain and, at the wheel of the RB4, as part of a "thank you" from Red Bull for winning the World Rally Championship yet again, our driver was Sebastien Loeb.

Having had a shakedown at Silverstone last week, the Frenchman had a better idea of what to expect and produced an excellent performance throughout the day. After spending most of the morning settling in and finding a good balance on the car, Loeb was actually put to more "serious" use in the afternoon, evaluating the Bridgestone slick tyres that will be used in 2009 and providing the team with valuable data.

"I don't think I'd like to take this much horsepower into the forests!" quipped the Frenchman. "It was a great experience and I had fun, although I have to say that driving one of these cars is tougher physically than driving my rally car. Towards the end of the day, I began to get a good feel for the car and enjoyed the sensation of it moving around on the track. I have to say that the level of grip in the high speed corners is very impressive."

Tomorrow, our new race driver, Sebastian Vettel takes over for the remaining two days of the test.