Gene Quickest at Paul Ricard - Day One

Three Formula One teams got back to work today following the Spanish Grand Prix, beginning a four-day testing session at the Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France.

Gene Quickest at Paul Ricard - Day One

Three Formula One teams got back to work today following the Spanish Grand Prix, beginning a four-day testing session at the Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France.

Spaniard Marc Gene finished on top of the times on the first day of work, as the Williams team continued with the development of the BMW-powered FW25 with which racing drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher failed to shine at the Spanish Grand Prix. Gene completed a total of 104 laps and posted a best time of 1:13.650, almost a whole second ahead of the closest of his rivals.

"Marc Gene completed 104 laps today under clear skies at the Paul Ricard circuit," explained test team manager Tim Newton. "The team predominantly focused on comprehensive set-up work of the FW25-02 with additional testing of the Michelin compounds. Tomorrow we will be concentrating on endurance runs with Marc at the wheel of the FW25-02 once again."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was second quickest with the only Bridgestone-shod car on track today. The Sauber driver worked on mechanical and aerodynamic set-ups for the Monaco Grand Prix, which will take place after the race in Austria next week.

"Our schedule today focused on different configurations for Monaco," said Sauber's head engineer Jacky Eeckelaert. "In the morning we tested several mechanical and aerodynamic set-ups as well as the cooling. Later we also worked on tyre data for Monaco.

"Unfortunately it was very windy at the circuit today which made it difficult for Heinz-Harald Frentzen to drive the car. This also affected of course our aerodynamic measurements and it was not easy to get reliable data. But overall we were able to complete our programme as scheduled."

Brazilian Cristiano da Matta, who last Sunday scored his first points with a sixth place finish in Spain, was third quickest in the first of the Toyotas. The Japanese squad were the only ones in action with two cars, with test driver Ricardo Zonta at the wheel of the second TF103.

Testing will continue tomorrow.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Gene Williams-BMW (M) 1:13.650 104 2. Frentzen Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:14.631 99 3. da Matta Toyota (M) 1:15.915 63 4. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:16.445 43 All Timing Unofficial

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