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Alonso expects more thrills for home crowd in Spain
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May 05, 2007 09:53 IST

Double world champion Fernando Alonso expects to have more overtaking opportunities at his home Spanish Grand Prix next week as a result of changes to the Circuit de Catalunya.

The 25-year-old will start the first European race of the Formula One season as championship leader, this time level on 22 points with rookie McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

"We had a strong test at this track earlier this week and we got to understand more about how the car performs at the Circuit de Catalunya and the changes to the layout," he said in a McLaren preview of the May 13 race.

"Although I have always really enjoyed the final two corners and their speed, the new chicane at the end of the track will hopefully lead to more overtaking during the race, which is great for spectators."

The two quick final corners at the Barcelona circuit have been replaced for safety reasons, as well as to facilitate overtaking.

Alonso, who joined Mercedes-powered McLaren after winning the title for the last two years with Renault, said the Spanish Grand Prix would always be the race he wanted to win more than any other.

The Spaniard, who leads the championship due to his superior race placings, warned however that the season promised to be tougher than ever.

"Ferrari should be our main opponent and I see a very interesting season in front of us, I think with no opportunity for any of us to really open a gap and win the championship in a relaxed way," he said.

"I think this is impossible this year and we will see a very close fight all through the season."

Ferrari have won two of the three races so far, while Alonso led Hamilton in a one-two finish in Malaysia.

McLaren have been testing new parts at the Barcelona circuit, including a radical-looking new front wing that could be used next week.

"We expect to be in Barcelona with an incredibly competitive package but we are also aware that none of our competitors will have stood still," said McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh.

"There is a continuous programme of aerodynamic development on the MP4-22, and during the Barcelona test this week we had a more obvious one with a high mounted flap on the front wing assembly," he added.

"It is something that has been developed over the last few months within the team. We were pleased with the results of that test and consequently it will be one of the options available to our drivers during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend."

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