Da Matta Fastest, de la Rosa Shines at Jerez - Day One

Four Formula One teams got back to work today following Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, testing for the first of three days at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Cadiz, in Southern Spain.

Da Matta Fastest, de la Rosa Shines at Jerez - Day One

Four Formula One teams got back to work today following Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, testing for the first of three days at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Cadiz, in Southern Spain.

Brazilian Cristiano da Matta was the pace-setter with the Toyota. The Brazilian CART champion was the only racing driver in action today, while all the other men on track were testers. Da Matta, at the wheel of the TF103, posted a quickest time of 1:19.651 over 69 laps, finishing more than half a second ahead of Alexander Wurz in the McLaren.

"I have done many laps today and we could get the maximum out of this first day," said da Matta. "The programme basically covered an extensive list of items and we literally worked on everything, making good progress.

"Our last test in Jerez had been heavily hampered by persistent bad weather, and it was good for the team to carry out productive set-up work in decent conditions this time. I thought I might be a bit tired after my trip back from Australia but I feel really well. Having had such a positive day is also very encouraging."

Austrian Wurz worked alongside Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, who will be testing for the Woking-based outfit for two days as David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen are not returning to Europe following the Australian Grand Prix.

De la Rosa, who last drove a Formula One car at last season's Japanese Grand Prix, impressed in today's session, setting a time less than three tenths of a second off Wurz's pace. The Spanish driver was dumped by the Jaguar team at the end of last season despite having a year of his contract left.

Williams test driver Marc Gene finished as third fastest with the only BMW-powered FW25 on track today. The Spaniard, who yesterday was in action at the Jarama circuit testing for his new team in the Telefonica World Series, continued with the development of the new car.

"It was a beautiful sunny day to start this three day test," said Williams' test team manager Tim Newton. "The test team were pleased with Sunday's result and continued to maintain the hard work needed for the continuous evolution of the FW25.

"Marc was driving today as the focus was directed towards systems work and suspension comparisons. We were also looking ahead to the ban on traction control which will be introduced during the season and testing the new set-up."

British BAR driver Anthony Davidson was slowest with the only Bridgestone-shod car at Jerez.

The test will continue tomorrow.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. da Matta Toyota (M) 1:19.651 69 2. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:20.270 34 3. Gene Williams-BMW (M) 1:20.362 69 4. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:20.556 62 5. Davidson BAR-Honda (B) 1:21.503 81 All Timing Unofficial

Visit Atlas F1's Testing Center for further information

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