Jerez 3: Gene on top

Marc Gene set the fastest time on day three of F1's first major test of the year, as the WilliamsF1 team continued to set the pace at Jerez in Spain. The Spaniard is running in the hybrid WilliamsF1 FW25B and set the time while concentrating on new Michelin tyre compounds

Jerez 3: Gene on top

"Michelin's slick tyres are very good," Gene said. "I hope that the intermediates are a step forward as well."

Juan Montoya continued data collation of the new FW26 which encountered its first teething problems today. "It's nothing big," reported the Colombian of the gearbox problem that interfered with his running but it didn't stop him setting the second fastest time of the day.

Jarno Trulli was third fastest and has now concluded his testing workload until the Renault team heads to Barcelona on January 19. The Italian, still sniffling from a heavy cold was another concentrating on Michelin tyre development. He will now be replaced at Jerez by team-mate Fernando Alonso. Renault tester Franck Montagny was fifth fastest.

Olivier Panis has also completed his test duties and will now prepare to shake down the new Toyota TF104 at a closed test session at Paul Ricard in France early next week. The Frenchman, who concentrated on working with parts for the new car and suspension set-up, is already impressed with the way new technical director Mike Gascoyne has galvanized Toyota.

"More than anything else I am very happy with Mike Gascoyne," Panis said. "He is doing a fantastic job. He has put us all in the same direction and the team is now working as one, which is great. I don't know what the new car will be like, we will have to wait and see, but at least we are working together."

Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer, along with Felipe Massa, continued with their Bridgestone tyre programme. They were seventh and eighth fastest respectively.

McLaren went a little quicker than yesterday, with David Coulthard dipping into the 1m17s bracket for the first time in the MP4-19. The team is still encountering brake problems but the Scot spent the day working on set-up and tyre compounds. Coulthard was joined by Kimi Raikkonen who got his first taste of the 2004 McLaren. The Finn, sporting a black cap emblazoned with the tag 'Ice Man', only completed 32 laps following an engine failure and then reliability problems, but was satisfied with his first run in the car.

BAR has had an eventful first day at Jerez. Takuma Sato crashed just before the chicane and damaged the nosecone of his hybrid chassis, while Anthony Davidson, shaking down the sister car, endured a monster engine blow-up just as he began his programme.

The test continues tomorrow.

Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m17.401s 68
Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m17.500s 54*
Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m17.683s 87
David Coulthard McLaren M 1m17.998s 73*
Franck Montagny Renault M 1m18.320s 73
Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m18.513s 93
Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m18.576s 84
Felipe Massa Ferrari B 1m18.896s 80
Kimi Raikkonen McLaren M 1m18.914s 32*
Takuma Sato BAR-Honda M 1m18.996s 82
Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m19.589s 44
Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda M 1m19.724s 22

* denotes 2004 car
B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin

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