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Barcelona day two - 2004 Ferrari on top 25 Jan 2006

Marc Gene (ESP) Ferrari Test Driver. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 23-27 January 2006. World ©  Capilitan/Sutton

Ferrari’s Marc Gene topped the times at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday. The Spaniard was at the wheel of a hybrid 2004 machine, powered by the team’s 2006 V8 engine, his best lap over a second quicker than the rest of the field.

Jacques Villeneuve maintained his impressive form in the new BMW Sauber F1.06, the Canadian setting the fastest time for a 2006 car. The former champion’s programme included practice starts and set-up work, as well as some long runs in the afternoon.

Villeneuve completed 91 laps, but team mate Nick Heidfeld could only manage 25 on his way to fifth in the interim Sauber C24B. The German was hampered by a gear selection problem, the cause of which the team need to analyse.

Juan Pablo Montoya got his first taste of the new McLaren MP4-21. After the teething problems experienced with the car by Pedro de la Rosa on Monday, Montoya had a far more productive session, running 87 laps, including stints of 21, 19 and 16 laps, to set the day’s third-fastest time.

"It was great to get my hands on the MP4-21 today in Barcelona,” said the Colombian. “Actually I was at the shakedown yesterday for a few hours. Having spent some time at the McLaren Technology Centre recently I have seen the MP4-21 being built and I couldn't wait until today to see the car on track!

“We have had an encouraging day, it feels very similar to last year's car but a little bit better, but it is very early stages. Our focus today was similar to yesterday with Pedro, just continuing to work through all the systems checks. We were able to cover over 400 kilometres, and continue getting valuable data for the team to work on."

In the interim McLaren MP4-20, Gary Paffett had a more frustrating day as he continued Michelin tyre work. A crash early in the afternoon left him uninjured, but the car badly damaged. He got back out on track for the final 15 minutes of the session to finish fourth in the timesheets.

Red Bull began their four-day Barcelona session with test and third driver Robert Doornbos making his debut at the wheel of the RB2. The Dutchman, sixth fastest, enjoyed a trouble-free day as the team focussed on development of the car's control systems.

"We acquired some good data on that front," said technical director, Mark Smith. "We also ran a totally different mechanical set-up on the car to the one we used at the last test and the way the car ran today was very encouraging. We have made a good step forward, but we still have a way to go."

Testing continues at the Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Marc Gene, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:16.581
2. Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:17.615
3. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.636
4. Gary Paffett, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.797
5. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:18.405
6. Robert Doornbos, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:19.070