Gene Sets the Pace at Monza - Day One

Spanish test driver Marc Gene posted the fastest time on the first day of this week's testing at the Monza circuit in Italy.

Gene Sets the Pace at Monza - Day One

Spanish test driver Marc Gene posted the fastest time on the first day of this week's testing at the Monza circuit in Italy.

The Williams tester worked at the wheel of the FW25 as the Grove-based outfit got back to work following their first win of the season at the Monaco Grand Prix last Sunday.

Gene was more than eight tenths of a second faster than Briton Anthony Davidson, who was the quickest of the two BAR drivers on track. The second Honda-powered car was driven by Japanese Takuma Sato, who finished at the bottom of the times.

German Heinz-Harald Frentzen was the only racing driver in action at Monza today following his disappointing Monaco Grand Prix, where he retired on the first lap. The Sauber driver, third quickest, tested the latest spec of the Petronas engine, also working on tyre testing.

"Today we have conducted a race simulation of the latest B specification version of the Petronas V10 engine, which has more horsepower than the A unit we are currently using," said Sauber's head engineer Jacky Eeckelaert.

"The test today went without problems and we will use the upgraded engine the first time at the Grand Prix of Europe at the Nurburgring at the end of June."

Felipe Massa was fourth fastest in the only Ferrari on track today. The Brazilian test driver worked with the old F2002, concentrating on tyre testing for Bridgestone and covering the most number of laps today with 103. Massa will be joined tomorrow by compatriot Rubens Barrichello, who tested at Fiorano today.

Ricardo Zonta and Pedro de la Rosa carried out testing duties for the Toyota and McLaren teams respectively, the Brazilian outpacing the Spaniard.

"It was a good test day today," said Zonta. "The track was wet to begin with after some overnight rain, but once it dried out it was quite good. We completed a reasonable number of laps, doing some aerodynamic and brake tests.

"We ran with maximum downforce today in order to replicate the sort of levels we will run in Canada next week, certainly not the sort of levels you require for the high-speed Monza track, therefore our lap times are not representative this week."

Testing at Monza continues tomorrow.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Gene Williams-BMW (M) 1:23.203 55 2. Davidson BAR-Honda (B) 1:24.029 65 3. Frentzen Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:24.073 69 4. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:24.075 103 5. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:24.413 59 6. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:24.426 64 7. Sato BAR-Honda (B) 1:24.611 22 All Timing Unofficial

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