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Paul Ricard Day 2 - Button fastest for BAR 15 Apr 2004

Jenson Button (GBR) BAR celebrates his 3rd place
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 4 April 2004

BAR driver Jenson Button was once again the fastest man in testing after day two at Paul Ricard on Wednesday.

Button, who was quickest at the test in Barcelona last week, set a best time of 1m 06.930s after more than 130 laps in good conditions at the French circuit. As the only BAR driver on the track, Button was working on both the aero and tyre packages, including various wing settings.

After yesterday’s low-key start to the test, Wednesday saw many more drivers on the track. The two McLaren’s followed Button on the timesheets, with Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen setting a best time of 1m 07.435s and David Coulthard third fastest in 1m 07.664s.

Marc Gene was the sole runner for Williams and guided his FW26 through more than 100 laps, working on both the set-up and tyre compounds. His quickest time of 1m 07.806s was good enough for fourth fastest on the day.

Both Renault drivers, Spain’s Fernando Alonso and Franck Montagny of France, tested various packages in the R24. It was Montagny’s first experience of the car and he concentrated on the engine specification, finishing the day with more than 160 laps under his belt. Alonso’s best time of 1m 08.002s saw him in fifth place for the day, with Montagny setting 1m 08.078s in sixth.

Rounding out the running order were the Jaguar of Mark Webber, who posted a best time of 1m 08.331s, and the two Toyotas of Cristiano da Matta and Ryan Briscoe, who finished with 1m 08.464s and 1m 08.969s respectively.

The test at Paul Ricard continues on Thursday as the teams prepare for the San Marino Grand Prix on April 25.

Elsewhere, Ferrari continued testing at two venues, with Rubens Barrichello working on tyre development work at Fiorano. After 118 laps in the F2004, his best time was 56.838s. Andrea Bertolini also completed some work for the Italian team, racking up 314 km at the Vairano circuit. Testing at both venues continues on Thursday, with Michael Schumacher scheduled to take over duties from Barrichello at Fiorano.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:06.930
2. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:07.435
3. David Coulthard, McLaren (Michelin), 1:07.664
4. Marc Gene, Williams (Michelin), 1:07.806
5. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin) 1:08.002
6. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:08.078
7. Mark Webber, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:08.331
8. Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:08.464
9. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota (Michelin), 1:08.969