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Jerez Test Day Three - Gene leads in Spain 10 Jan 2004

Marc Gene, Williams, Jerez testing, 8 January 2004

Williams test driver Marc Gene topped the timesheets at Jerez on Friday at the wheel of a 2003-spec FW25B. Juan Pablo Montoya, driving the new FW26, was second fastest.

Gene put in a number of long runs, racking up over 70 laps of the Spanish circuit, as he carried out a Michelin tyre development programme. Montoya, meanwhile, continued to fine tune the mechanical and aero set-up on the team's 2004 contender.

The Renaults of Jarno Trulli and Franck Montagny were third and fourth fastest as the French squad completed their third and final day at Jerez. Trulli continued tyre development and a damper evaluation programme, though this was cut short by an engine failure. Montagny worked on suspension and steering geometries in a bid to improve the car's performance over kerbs.

Kimi Raikkonen got his first taste of the McLaren MP4-19 as he tested for the first time this year. After getting acquainted with the new car in the morning, the Finn pushed on in the afternoon to set the day's fifth-fastest time, three places above team mate David Coulthard.

Ferrari again had Luca Badoer and Felipe Massa in action at the wheel of F2003-GAs. The Italian and the Brazilian were seventh and ninth respectively as they carried on with the world champions' programme of tyre and electronics development.

Friday was BAR's first day of the week at Jerez and the Honda-powered team saw Takuma Sato go tenth quickest and Anthony Davidson 12th. Their day was not without drama though, with Sato enduring a minor off-track excursion and Davidson suffering an engine failure.

Toyota completed the Friday line-up. Olivier Panis was sixth fastest in the team's 2003-spec TF103, the Frenchman working on long, tyre-evaluation runs, as well as some traction-control mapping. Team mate Cristiano da Matta was 11th in the interim TF103B, looking at rear set-up, brakes and endurance running.

Conditions at Jerez were initially damp, but clear skies meant the circuit soon dried, with track temperatures going on to peak at just over 25 degrees Celsius. Testing continues on Saturday.

Unofficial Friday times from Jerez:
1. Marc Gene, Williams (Michelin), 1:17.299
2. Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (Michelin), 1:17.498
3. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.673
4. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.325
5. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.363
6. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.513
7. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:18.546
8. David Coulthard, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.638
9. Felipe Massa, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:18.882
10. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:18.987
11. Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:19.589
12. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:19.723