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Barcelona day one - Gene in charge 24 Nov 2004

Marc Gene (ESP) Ferrari F2004. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 23 November 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton

Dream debut for new Spanish test signing

Marc Gene made an excellent start to his Ferrari career by topping the times at Barcelona on Tuesday. Gene, whose testing deal with the world champions was announced only hours earlier, was the fastest of four drivers present.

Ferrari were one of three teams in action for the opening day of this week’s session, the first since the end of the 2004 season. Gene and fellow tester Luca Badoer, third fastest, ran a programme of tyre and set-up work, the pair completing 180 laps between them.

Splitting the Ferraris was the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, who kicked off the Japanese team’s five-day programme. He will be joined by new team mate Ralf Schumacher on Wednesday.

Mark Webber took to the track late in the day to make his first appearance for Williams. The Australian completed just a handful of installation laps in the FW26 and did not set a representative time.

Testing continues at Barcelona on Wednesday, when a total of eight teams are expected to be in action.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Ferrari were also running at Vairano in Italy, where Andrea Bertolini completed a programme of straight-line aerodynamic work. He will be back behind the wheel at Fiorano on Thursday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Marc Gene, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.665
2. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Michelin), 1:16.476
3. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:17.684
4. Mark Webber, Williams (Michelin), 1:27.952