Monza day 2: Williams quickest

Marc Gene posted the best laptime for Williams on the second day in a row at Monza today (Weds), with an impressive effort by BAR tester Anthony Davidson securing second - in full downforce configuration! Rubens Barrichello finished 0.1s off the British driver, in third, as the teams progressed their testing programmes

Monza day 2: Williams quickest

With the chicanes at Monza providing the best European equivalent to those in Montreal, the teams went after mapping and other set-up data to make the best of the harsh stop-and-go conditions to come. The disadvantage is that Monza is a hard tyre, low wing track which is being used to prepare cars for a soft tyre, high wing street circuit.

Felipe Massa went fourth quickest in a 2002 Ferrari, the Italian team deciding to use at least one of its drivers to tyre test for the Italian Grand Prix. The limitations on possible testing scenarios for Canada, plus the August testing ban which halts testing in the run up to the Italian GP, bringing both Ferrari and Williams to the same conclusion - Gene appropriately, therefore, topped the times on a similar tyre testing programme.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Olivier Panis rounded out the top six, for Sauber and Toyota, with Pedro de la Rosa Takuma Sato and Jacques Villeneuve propping up the order. Villeneuve was in reasonably good spirits and looking forward to his home race, but for the reoccurrence of a back problem which has troubled him intermittantly since his massive crash in Melbourne in 2001.

"I'm looking forward to Montreal," he said, "even though I haven't done very good races there. I just want my run of bad luck to finish and to make it to see the chequered flag.

"Anthony did a good job getting the mapping right for Canada today, the car felt good right away. I just have to be a bit careful, to make sure my back is in the best condition for the race."

Villeneuve's team-mate, Jenson Button, has been pulled out of a scheduled test tomorrow, after the FIA's medical delegate Professor Sid Watkins recommended a further period of rest. There is some doubt over the likelihood of the young Briton flying to Canada, let alone racing there, after his big shunt in Monaco. If he is not given the all clear in time, Takuma Sato may get his chance.

Red flags were brought out after two BAR gear box failures occurred, within minutes of each other, in the afternoon session and also when Gene's Willams ground to a halt and went in for an engine change just before lunch.

Elsewhere, McLaren took its second new MP4-18A to Barcelona for a private test. The car was shaken down by Kimi Raikkonen but didn't complete many laps and no times were issued.

Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m22.632s 79
Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda B 1m22.850s 40
Rubens Barrichello Ferrari B 1m22.936s 76
Felipe Massa Ferrari B 1m22.278s 66
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Petronas B 1m23.536s 81
Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m23.561s 91
Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes M 1m23.615s 93
Takuma Sato BAR-Honda M 1m23.937s 52
Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda M 1m24.123s 43

B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin

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