The World Touring Car Championship finale got underway today with the 29-car field – reduced by one with the withdrawal of Stefano D’Aste from the entry list – getting to grips with Macau’s notoriously difficult Guia street circuit.
And it was Chevrolet’s Rob Huff who got his weekend off to the best possible start, as he posted the quickest time in the day’s free test session with a time of 2:33.120. The Briton is hopeful of being able to secure second overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings with a good result this weekend, in the wake of the FIA Court of Appeal awarding the title to his team-mate Yvan Muller.
The session was barely minutes old when the red flags were unfurled after Kin Man Chan binned his Honda Civic Type-R into the barriers at Hospital Bend, followed almost immediately by the Engstler BMW of Andrei Romanov. Masaki Kano was another to hit the wall with 10 minutes to go, clipping the Armco exiting the ‘R’ Bend and spinning his BMW across the track.
Andy Priaulx – with his BMW back using its conventional gearbox and running the maximum compensation weight – went third-quickest in the session, and the Guernseyman will be battling with Huff and SEAT driver Gabriele Tarquini for second-placed honours in the championship.
Tom Coronel was the fastest SEAT driver with fourth on the timesheets, with Tiago Monteiro sixth-fastest in the sister León TDI. The second RBM BMW of Augusto Farfus was seventh-fastest, with Tarquini eighth quickest in the session.
The timing sheets then saw a brace of Independent Trophy runners vying for top spot, with Franz Engstler winding up eleventh overall, closely pursued by Darryl O’Young and Sergio Hernández.
2010 WTCC Macau Free Test Session Times:
[Original images via FIA WTCC official site]
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