Gene quickest in Barcelona testing

SPANIARD Marc Gene topped the times on the sixth day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday and then labelled it the best day he has had with BMW-Williams.

Gene joined BMW-Williams as official test driver from Minardi during the close-season and gave Michelin a timely boost by outpacing his Bridgestone-shod rivals with a quickest lap time of one minute and 21.206 seconds.

"This is the happiest day I've had since I joined Williams," Gene said. "It's nice to finish your work and see that you are on top. I felt very comfortable in the car though I didn't push very hard."

Gene was involved in a test of his own throughout the day as four doctors monitored his heart rate while driving via Williams' telemetry.

German Nick Heidfeld was second fastest despite completing just 12 laps while Jarno Trulli continued work on Jordan's new EJ11 at the Barcelona circuit. Rookie Kimi Raikkonen, of Sauber, was fourth in the timesheets, just over seven-tenths down on Gene.

British American Racing test driver Darren Manning posted the fifth quickest lap time while his team-mates were on duty at the team's launch in London.

Arrows handed Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi a chance to impress in the AMT-powered car, after Jos Verstappen was replaced on the day.

Times from Friday's testing at Barcelona:

Marc Gene BMW-Williams 1:21.206
Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1:21.230
Jarno Trulli Jordan 1:21.315
Kimi Raikkonen Sauber 1:21.942
Darren Manning BAR 1:22.346
Enrique Bernoldi Arrows 1:23.581

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