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Sonoma WTCC: Alex MacDowall surprise testing pacesetter

Alex MacDowall, Bamboo Chevrolet, Sonoma 2012Bamboo Engineering's Alex MacDowall headed a shortened World Touring Car Friday test on the series' maiden visit to Sonoma.

Yokohama Drivers' Trophy title challenger Pepe Oriola set the initial pace in his SEAT, before MacDowall moved into top spot just after the midway point in the half-hour session.

MacDowall's time of 1m48.281s was 0.328 seconds quicker than Oriola's early effort.

Recently crowned FIA European Touring Car Cup champion Fernando Monje completed a surprise top three for Tuenti Racing.

MacDowall's competitors were denied an opportunity to challenge his position when Felice Tedeschi rolled his Proteam BMW into the Turn 4 gravel bed, bringing out the red flags with six minutes left on the clocks.

Both right-hand wheels of Tedeschi's machine were removed in the incident, but the 50-year-old series debutant escaped injury. The session was not restarted.

Championship leader Yvan Muller ended the afternoon fourth fastest in the first of the factory Chevrolets, ahead of Slovakia-Ring winner Gabriele Tarquini.

Fresh from a victory in the Goodwood Revival historic meeting, the recently married Rob Huff took sixth. Huff's RML Chevrolet team-mate Alain Menu trailed by just 0.092s.

Pos  Driver                Team/Car               Time        Gap
 1.  Alex MacDowall        Bamboo Chevrolet       1m48.281s
 2.  Pepe Oriola           Tuenti SEAT            1m48.609s   + 0.328s
 3.  Fernando Monje        SUNRED SEAT            1m48.979s   + 0.698s
 4.  Yvan Muller           Chevrolet              1m49.185s   + 0.904s
 5.  Gabriele Tarquini     Lukoil SEAT            1m49.231s   + 0.950s
 6.  Robert Huff           Chevrolet              1m49.281s   + 1.000s
 7.  Alain Menu            Chevrolet              1m49.373s   + 1.092s
 8.  Stefano D'Aste        Wiechers BMW           1m49.449s   + 1.168s
 9.  Alberto Cerqui        ROAL BMW               1m49.711s   + 1.430s
10.  Norbert Michelisz     Zengo BMW              1m50.012s   + 1.731s
11.  Mehdi Bennani         Proteam BMW            1m50.034s   + 1.753s
12.  Tiago Monteiro        Tuenti SEAT            1m50.088s   + 1.807s
13.  Aleksei Dudukalo      Lukoil SEAT            1m50.196s   + 1.915s
14.  James Nash            Arena Ford             1m50.270s   + 1.989s
15.  Franz Engstler        Engstler BMW           1m50.272s   + 1.991s
16.  Charles Ng            Engstler BMW           1m50.346s   + 2.065s
17.  Tom Coronel           ROAL BMW               1m50.794s   + 2.513s
18.  Tom Chilton           Arena Ford             1m51.080s   + 2.799s
19.  Tom Boardman          Special Tuning SEAT    1m51.854s   + 3.573s
20.  Darryl O'Young        Special Tuning SEAT    1m52.150s   + 3.869s
21.  Robb Holland          Bamboo Chevrolet       1m52.193s   + 3.912s
22.  Felice Tedeschi       Proteam BMW            1m55.746s   + 7.465s

Daytona Competition
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