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Barcelona day one - Gene puts Ferrari on top 12 Apr 2006

Marc Gene (ESP) Ferrari Test Driver Formula 1 Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 11 April 2006. World ©  Bumstead/Sutton

This week’s four-day test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya got underway on Tuesday, with Ferrari’s Marc Gene setting the pace. Gene’s best lap of 1m 16.129s put him two tenths clear of Williams’ Nico Rosberg, with Ferrari team mate Luca Badoer third.

Both Gene and Badoer were at the wheel of the team’s current 248 F1 machine, the former carrying out an endurance run, the latter working mainly on development of new components. Felipe Massa takes over from Badoer on Wednesday.

At Williams, Rosberg was joined by test driver Narain Karthikeyan, both men completing 97 laps of the Spanish circuit. The team’s other drivers, Mark Webber and Alexander Wurz, will also be on track later in the week.

“Nico and Narain completed a busy testing schedule, running new aero parts and suspension items in the morning, followed by tyre construction tests in the afternoon,” reported Mike Condliffe, Williams’ test team manager. “Mark will join Nico tomorrow for the second day of the test.”

Both of the Red Bull-owned teams were in action. Red Bull Racing’s Christian Klien and David Coulthard were fifth and seventh-fastest respectively, after completing just over 50 laps apiece. Splitting them was Toro Rosso’s third driver Neel Jani, who enjoyed a productive day in the STR1. Jani will hand over to Vitantonio Liuzzi on Wednesday.

"We had no problems with our car and there were few interruptions for red flags, so we were able to run pretty much constantly throughout," reported Toro Rosso’s general manager, Gianfranco Fantuzzi. "Our programme focused on set-up work, evaluating different brake materials and assessing different aero downforce levels."

Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Marc Gene, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:16.129
2. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:16.313
3. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:16.398
4. Narain Karthikeyan, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:16.456
5. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:16.671
6. Neel Jani, Toro Rosso (Michelin), 1:16.760
7. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:17.137