Paul Ricard, day 2: Gene sets pace again

For the second day running, Williams test driver Marc Gene set the pace in Formula 1 testing at the Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France today (Wednesday)

Paul Ricard, day 2: Gene sets pace again

The Spaniard, concentrating on set-up work for the Williams team, set a fastest lap of 1m11.919s, outpacing McLaren test driver Alex Wurz by 0.398s. Toyota star Cristiano da Matta, working on set-up and engine development, was third quickest.

David Coulthard endured a tough end to his day of testing when he crashed shortly before two fast left hand corners. The Scot spun off the circuit, with his the left-hand side of his rear wing making contact with a concrete wall.

"We had the usual problems today," the Scot told autosport.com. "We were testing set-up and tyres. I just went off, there was nothing I could do."

Coulthard hit the wall just metres before a row of tyre barriers, which had been installed at the circuit after several drivers at the last test session complained to autosport.com about the track's safety. Despite Coulthard's crash, the drivers were still positive about the track improvements. "It was good. They did the job," said Wurz.

Renault star Jarno Trulli was testing a new engine development for the team, whose radical 110 degree V10 is reported to be as much as 80bhp down on its leading rivals. With the next race being held at the A1-Ring in Austria, which requires strong engine power, Trulli admitted the team could struggle to be as competitive as in Spain.

"It is a step forward and it should be good for the A1-Ring, but it won't be as easy for us as in Spain," Trulli told autosport.com. The Italian was punted off at the first corner at Barcelona, and is still frustrated by the missed opportunity. "What can I say? I'm just so annoyed," he said. "We had a really good strategy for the race."

BAR ran two cars for Jenson Button and test driver Anthony Davidson, the pair working on tyre and engine development. Heinz-Harald Frentzen concentrated on set-up for Monaco, but his work for Sauber was hindered by a drive or gearbox problem.

Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m11.919s 101
Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1m12.317s 105
Cristiano da Matta Toyota M 1m12.939s 87
David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes M 1m12.997s 99
Jenson button BAR-Honda B 1m13.769s 89
Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda B 1m14.041s 72
Mark Webber Jaguar 1m14.122s 110
Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m14.297s 113
Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber-Petronas B 1m14.376s 98
Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1m17.767s 89

B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin

Rubens Barrichello continued his running at Ferrari's Fiorano test track today, completing 108 laps whilst conducting development work on the F2003-GA. His best lap was a 56.757s.

Meanwhile, Felipe Mass continued a Bridgestone tyre development programme for the Italain marque at Monza. Driving an F2002, the Brazilian completed 473km, running on both the original circuit layout and a modified track with chicanes added before the Parabolica and Ascari. Times were not disclosed.

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Gene Again on Top at Paul Ricard - Day Two

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