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Jerez day one - Renault top, Ferrari fly 08 Dec 2005

Franck Montagny (FRA) Renault Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd19,  Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, 13 October 2005

Testing resumed at the Jerez circuit in Southern Spain on Wednesday. Renault’s Franck Montagny was fastest in a restricted V10 car, but it was Ferrari’s Marc Gene who set the V8 pace.

Montagny ran tyre and brake testing, while the team’s new third driver, Heikki Kovalainen was third fastest as he acclimatized himself to the simulated V8 power levels, before beginning set-up and suspension work for the world champions.

“We had a very good day’s testing, completing more work than we had initially planned for and making good progress with our programmes for the week,” said Christian Silk, Renault’s chief test engineer. “Heikki began understanding the demands of running with V8 power, while Franck continued strongly with the programmes he began last week in Barcelona.”

Gene finished a little over two tenths down on Montagny in a Ferrari F2004 running the team’s new engine. The Spaniard’s main focus was reliability testing the new engine. Team mate Luca Badoer worked on Bridgestone tyre development in an F2005 until a mechanical failure on the right front corner of the car brought an early end to his programme.

Anthony Davidson was fourth fastest for Honda. Both he and James Rossiter, 12th quickest, were at the wheel of team’s V8-powered Concept cars. Davidson concentrated on chassis, engine and tyres, while Rossiter’s schedule also included some aero work.

Narain Karthikeyan made an impressive Williams test debut, outpacing Nico Rosberg at the wheel of the FW27C. The Indian finished the day fifth in the timesheets, while the German was ninth, the pair completing over 120 laps between them.

McLaren had Pedro de la Rosa and DTM champion Gary Paffett in action, sixth and tenth respectively in interim MP4-20Bs. Between them were the Toyota of Ralf Schumacher, who finished his day early due to back pain, and the Red Bull of Christian Klien.

Also on track for Toyota was former test driver Ryan Briscoe, who was drafted in at the last minute to replace the sick Olivier Panis. "Apart from one day in an F3 car, this is my first time back in a race car since my IRL accident and it feels great,” said the Australian. “I only found out two days ago that I would be driving so it was a bit of a surprise call. But I did about 80 laps today with no physical problems at all so I'm really happy. It was good fun to be back behind the wheel of an F1 car again. There's nothing like it.

“I know everyone in Toyota's test team and they are good people to work with so I felt really comfortable out there. I'm glad to be of help to the team and I've enjoyed getting the feel of the new car. It didn't take long to get back into the swing of things and we did some work on tyre pressures and temperatures. We didn't quite finish the programme because of an engine failure at the end of the day but we got most of it done and I'm happy with the first day of work."

Completing the Wednesday timesheets were the MF1Racing machines of Thomas Biagi and Christijan Albers. Italian Biagi made his Formula One debut in an EJ15B, while Albers worked in an interim version of the car, running Toyota’s V8 engine.

"We have run the V8 car for the first time today and we did not have any major issues with it which is positive,” said James Key, MF1’s technical director of MF1. “The installation that we did for the interim car has been good, the engine has performed as we expected and hoped and has proved reliable. We have a few issues we have to solve for tomorrow but nothing fundamental. Christijan's feedback has been very useful. He picked up on a few things which we can work on tonight to improve his set-up. We also have some work to do with Bridgestone on the new tyres for next year in the next few days.

"Thomas has done a great job today with some good lap times. He did not have any problems adapting to an F1 car and has contributed well to our efforts today. All in all, we are pleased with the progress."

Testing continues at Jerez on Thursday.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Jerez:
1. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.453
2. Marc Gene, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:19.692
3. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.800
4. Anthony Davidson, Honda (Michelin), 1:20.130
5. Narain Karthikeyan, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:20.291
6. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:20.371
7. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:20.454
8. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:20.583
9. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:20.644
10. Gary Paffett, McLaren (Michelin), 1:20.746
11. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:20.840
12. James Rossiter, Honda (Michelin), 1:20.990
13. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:21.211
14. Thomas Biagi, MF1 (Bridgestone), 1:21.820
15. Christijan Albers, MF1 (Bridgestone), 1:23.190