Gene targets podium

Marc Gene, who gets the chance of a lifetime in a front-running car in today's (Sunday's) Italian Grand Prix as a replacement for Ralf Schumacher at Williams, is targeting a podium finish

Frank Williams thinks that the Spaniard can score a podium if there is some unreliability or a slow pit stop elsewhere. Gene himself said: "It's not impossible to dream and starting fifth it's feasible, but I don't want to think about it."

Gene impressed many people with his ability to step straight in and qualify fifth, just 0.8s from Juan Pablo Montoya. "The team are happier than I was expecting them to be," said Gene, "so it looks like some people appreciate the difficulty of being woken up to race!

"Qualifying was definitely the most difficult task. Luckily this year I have been racing Formula Nissan and although I am not devoting a lot of time to it because I am too busy with Williams, I raced in Monza three months ago and so it won't be such a difficult time in the race.

"The Williams is going very well here, we know that it is a track that is good for us and it shows that F1 is a human sport as well as a technical one. At Minardi I did some very good qualifying performances but people didn't take much notice until today. That's the way life is."

Gene hopes that the narrow first corner will not cause problems and added: "I want to push and try and be there with the Ferraris. I don't think I can help Juan Pablo unless he has a problem, otherwise I will just try and follow the four leading cars and see at the pit-stops if I can do any better."

Interestingly, Gene said that even if a podium finish was on, he would let Montoya past if the Colombian somehow found himself behind.

"If Juan is fourth I wouldn't even think about it," he said. "Points are too expensive at the moment, for Juan especially."

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