Friday August 24th, 2001
Spaniard Marc Gene finished on top a four-day testing session at the Barcelona circuit, where Williams and Benetton carried out their preparations for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa next week.
Both Williams and Benetton worked on an artificially wet track in the morning to test the Michelin tyres, and Gene continued running in the afternoon when the circuit was dry, therefore the test driver was more than 15 seconds quicker than Jenson Button, who was fastest in the morning.
"This has been a very intensive test session in Barcelona generating a lot of useful information for our engineers," said BMW boss Mario Theissen. "After the test ban between Hockenheim and Budapest we had a long list to work on. On the engine side we have been testing a few improvements with promising results.
"We also have been working on the electronic engine management, such as traction control. On the last day, when tyre testing was in the focus, Marc Gene was doing some long run testing. We are looking forward to Spa, a circuit where engine power is essential"
Button, who set the pace on Thursday, tested with both intermediate and full wet tyres, completing a total of 53 laps with a best time 1:39.373. The Benetton team continued working with two drivers, with Australian Mark Webber enduring a poor day after mechanical problems hampered his day's progress.
The test driver, who set the slowest time on the four days of testing at Barcelona, could only complete seven laps before an engine failure in the morning forced him to miss the rest of the session.
Meanwhile, at the Danielson circuit, Ricardo Sperafico completed four days of straight line aero mapping work for Williams, covering 1,382km over the week at the French facility.
Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time
1. Gene Williams-BMW (M) 1:23.970
2. Button Benetton-Renault (M) 1:39.373
3. Webber Benetton-Renault (M) 1:43.946
All Timing Unofficial
Published at 16:52:50 GMT