Coulthard recovers from technical problems in Valencia

AT a hot Valencia circuit on Wednesday, David Coulthard topped the timesheets in testing after recovering from early technical problems with his McLaren-Mercedes.

Briton Coulthard beat Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen into second place by just under a second.

Frentzen worked on set-up for the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix, while his team-mate Ricardo Zonta was fifth in the times despite his car suffering mechanical problems in the morning. Test-driver Zonta tested aerodynamic parts in the afternoon.

Ralf Schumacher was third for the BMW-Williams team despite running just 20 laps as his car suffered mechanical problems with its gearbox in the hot conditions, with track temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius.

Schumacher's team-mate, Williams' test-driver Marc Gene, was fourth quickest, fractionally ahead of Zonta and Arrows driver Enrique Bernoldi in the times.

Ulsterman Eddie Irvine tested for the Jaguar Racing team and was seventh in the times behind Bernoldi. Irvine will be replaced by German youngster Andre Lotterer as the test continues on Thursday.

Irvine was slightly quicker than Jaguar team-mate Pedro de la Rosa, who in turn beat Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld, who tested the team's set-up for Monaco, and Prost driver Luciano Burti.

McLaren gave a test to promising British driver Darren Turner but he was over two seconds slower than Coulthard in 11th place, but quicker than British American Racing driver Jacques Villeneuve, who is nursing a lingering back injury after his crash in the Australian Grand Prix.

Villeneuve's team-mate Olivier Panis was bottom of the times as he tested traction control, with Arrows test-driver Johnny Herbert sandwiched between the BAR men in the times.

The day's session was marred by several red flags as Schumacher, Turner and Gene all broke down on track with engine problems and Herbert, De la Rosa and Bernoldi all spun - without serious damage to cars or drivers.

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