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Jerez day one - Montagny first up 29 Sep 2004

Franck Montagny (FRA) Renault R24. Formula One Testing, Silverstone, England, 27 April 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton

Renault test driver Franck Montagny set the pace at Jerez on Tuesday, as this week’s three-day session in preparation for the Japanese Grand Prix got underway. Barely a tenth of a second separated Montagny, Williams’ Marc Gene and BAR’s Anthony Davidson in the times.

Gene was partnered at Williams by Monegasque driver Olivier Beretta, who was drafted in to replace Antonio Pizzonia who twisted his ankle after slipping on the stairs in his hotel in China. Gene focused on set-up and tyre work, while Beretta, ninth fastest, concentrated on aero, cooling and traction control work.

At BAR, Davidson managed 87 laps of a tyre programme aimed at the remaining races of the season, despite some gearbox problems in the morning. Also testing for the team again following his recent Silverstone outing was Arrows veteran Enrique Bernoldi. The Brazilian finished eighth in the times after over 90 laps.

The McLarens of Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz were fourth and fifth ahead of the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, the Italian beginning his first full test with the Japanese team. Just behind him in the times was Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen, who was again in the cockpit for Renault.

The major drama of the day came courtesy of Ferrari’s Luca Badoer, who finished bottom of the timesheets following a heavy crash after just 18 laps. The team said the cause was a mechanical problem with the rear of the car. Badoer emerged unscathed, but opted not to continue until Wednesday.

Conditions at Jerez were perfect for testing, with sunny skies and track temperatures of around 45 degrees Celsius. The session runs until Thursday.

Elsewhere, Ferrari were also in action at Fiorano. Group development driver Andrea Bertolini worked on electronics in the F2004, completing a total of 77 laps (30 of them on the short version of the track) with a best time of 58.085s.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Jerez:
1. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.673
2. Marc Gene, Williams (Michelin), 1:17.695
3. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:17.789
4. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.104
5. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.237
6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.503
7. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.660
8. Enrique Bernoldi, BAR (Michelin), 1:18.943
9. Olivier Beretta, Williams (Michelin), 1:18.982
10. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:19.800