Virgin seek momentum

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TEAM principal John Booth is calling on Marussia Virgin Racing to maintain their “momentum” in Barcelona this week.

The Dinnington-based outfit head to Spain on Friday to continue their pre-season preparations in a four-day test.

It was Williams driver Rubens Barrichello who topped the timesheets on the final day of pre-season testing in Jerez on Sunday, his mark of one minute 19.832 seconds some seven tenths quicker than second-placed Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber.

But Booth said he was encouraged by the team’s new car package in Jerez. Drivers Timo Glock and new boy Jerome d’Ambrosio closed the gap on the rest of the field, with Glock finishing just 1.8 seconds off the pace of Michael Schumacher’s time-topping Mercedes.

Booth said: “I’m very pleased with what we have achieved so far. We have been able to recover well from small setbacks and we are making excellent progress as we count down towards the first race.

“Both Timo [Glock] and Jérôme [d’Ambrosio] have done a fantastic job here and we just have to keep pushing hard now to maintain the momentum in Barcelona.”

Meanwhile, Marussia president Graeme Lowdon has confirmed Pat Symonds has been given a consultancy role at the team. Symonds, the former Renault technical director, has been out of the sport since he left the Enstone-based outfit in the wake of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix race-fixing controversy.