Klien enjoys busy offseason

Christian Klien has enjoyed a busy start to his 2008 programmes with the BMW Sauber F1 Team and Peugeot Sport. Over the course of four days the 25-year-old Austrian completed 1425kms of testing in Valencia, Paul Ricard and Barcelona as he swapped between his top-level Formula One and sports car drives.

Klien’s driving schedule started last Friday when he made his debut as Test and Reserve driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team in Valencia. In damp conditions he completed 32 laps in a program that included some practice starts and pitstops as he acclimatised himself to the BMW Sauber F1.08. He also used the opportunity to build his relationship with the team and was very impressed with the car in spite of the conditions.

Turning his attention to testing for Peugeot Sport, Klien travelled to Paul Ricard where he spent Saturday and Sunday carrying out endurance and night-time tests in the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP. He worked on a variety of developments with Peugeot Sport’s engineers and Michelin’s technicians.

On Monday Klien was back in action for the BMW Sauber F1 team, completing 42 laps in Barcelona and enjoying his first taste of the car in dry conditions. He then returned to Austria for two days before flying to Menorca to undertake straight-line testing for the BMW Sauber F1 team this weekend as part of the team’s preparations for the start of the FIA Formula One World Championship in two weeks time.

Friday in Valencia was my first opportunity to drive the BMW Sauber F1.08 and to get used to working with the team," said Klien. “The team is very good to work with, with a great atmosphere, and the car felt strong in all the key areas; engine, aerodynamics and electronics. On Monday I finally got to drive it in the dry and start taking it towards the limit. I concentrated on getting a good set-up and on doing some specific tests for the team which was good."

“The weekend testing program for Peugeot Sport was hard work, but the car is very satisfying for me to drive. It is really not so different from Formula One apart from the car being heavier; we have good power and downforce and you can really push in the corners."

Next week Klien will continue with his training programme before departing for the opening Formula One race in Melbourne.

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