Ferrari regained the upper hand on the third day of action at the latest Formula One group test, with Rubens Barrichello taking the lone F2003-GA to the top of the timesheets at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Brazilian managed to reverse the running order with Wednesday's top two - Marc Gene and Ralf Schumacher - lining up astern of the Ferrari after another hectic day's work for all three. Barrichello enjoyed a couple of tenths' gap over Gene, as both men completed over 100 laps of the Spanish venue.

Ferrari's programme centred on testing new aerodynamic components and tyres for the F2003-GA at forthcoming races, and Barrichello, who was conducting his second day of running, completed a total of 101 laps, with a best time of 1min 17.815secs.

Over at Williams, Gene and Schumacher continued with the tyre development, set-up and systems work for Silverstone's round of the world championship next weekend. The German spent the day evaluating set-up options as well as working closely with Michelin, while his Spanish team-mate successfully completed a race distance, before moving on to further the set-up work he had begun earlier in the week.

Taking a surprise fourth place on the day was Jordan's Ralph Firman, who logged a valuable 63 laps of the Barcelona circuit and ended the session 0.6secs shy of Barrichello. The Briton ran both days of Jordan's final 'in-season' test of the summer and spent day two focusing on Bridgestone's tyre test programme, along with some general set-up work. Once again, a minor problem interrupted running for a couple of hours, but both team and driver claimed that the test had been productive.

Toyota swapped Cristiano da Matta for Olivier Panis and spent some time in the morning session completing a series of short runs to compare the different Michelin tyres from the selection designated for Silverstone, Hockeneheim and the Hungaroring. Later, in the afternoon, the Frenchman moved on to working with the entire TF103 package and tested new aerodynamic components, as well as some engine upgrades.

McLaren continued to be out in force for the test, which maintained the team's practice of running the MP4-17D and MP4-18 cars side-by-side as it attempts to make the latter satisfactorily raceworthy to enter competition at one of the new few races. Kimi Raikkonen was the best of the team's three drivers on hand, clocking 1min 18.738secs despite engine problems to lie sixth overall, while David Coulthard and Alex Wurz brought up the rear in the new car, that latter not recording a time for the second day this week.

Mark Webber continued Jaguar's pre-race preparation for Silverstone and Hockenheim by sitting right on Raikkonen's tail time-wise, and headed the three BAR-Hondas present in Spain. Jacques Villeneuve replaced Anthony Davidson - who is reported to be moving in to a dual role whereby he acts as reserve driver for Jaguar - but lapped half a second slower than Jenson Button, who was completing his second day of running this week. Both men were outshone by test and reserve driver Takuma Sato, however, as the Japanese driver clocked 1min 19.309secs in 50 laps as he worked on a different programme to the race duo. Button and Villeneuve completed 93 and 99 laps respectively as BAR racked up valuable data for the forthcoming rounds in Britain, Germany and Hungary.

Talking of racking up great distances, Allan McNish followed his session-high, two-and-a-half grands prix distance run on Wednesday with another 99 laps on day two of Renault's outing, and was only prevented from going further by an engine problem which curtailed his afternoon. Until that point, the Scot had made progress with the team's Michelin tyre evaluation.

Finally, Nick Heidfeld moved into his second and final day of running with Sauber, using the improved weather conditions to test a new front suspension layout and three different front wings for Silverstone race. The German also completed the team's work with Bridgestone and evaluated several new front and rear dampers for the next couple of races.

Heidfeld will be replaced tomorrow by irregular test driver Neel Jani, who will conduct his second proper F1 test after running straight-line tests at Vairano for the past two days. The Swiss driver will not be the only change in personnel at the test, as Luca Badoer returns for Ferrari and Davidson replaces Button at BAR.

Leading performances - Barcelona (10 July):

Rubens Barrichello Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 17.815secs 101 lapsMarc Gene Williams-BMW 1min 18.047secs 123 lapsRalf Schumacher Williams-BMW 1min 18.397secs 95 lapsRalph FirmanJordan-Ford 1min 18.412secs 63 lapsOlivier Panis Toyota-Toyota 1min 18.659secs 83 lapsKimi Raikk?nen McLaren-Mercedes 1min 18.738secs 111 lapsMark Webber Jaguar-Cosworth 1min 18.787secs 106 lapsTakuma Sato BAR-Honda 1min 19.309secs 50 lapsNick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas 1min 19.479secs 104 lapsJenson Button BAR-Honda 1min 19.510secs 93 lapsAllan McNish Renault-Renault 1min 19.885secs 99 lapsJacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1min 20.010secs 99 lapsDavid CoulthardMcLaren-Mercedes 1min 20.093secs 45 lapsAlex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes no time 7 laps

[* denotes cars on Bridgestone tyres; all others on Michelin]

Track / weather conditions: warm and sunny.

Comparative lap times:

Spanish GP 2002:

Fastest lap: Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1min 20.355secsPole position: Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1min 16.364secs