Sonoma WTCC: Alex MacDowall surprise testing pacesetter
|By Peter Mills||Friday, September 21st 2012, 22:01 GMT|
Bamboo 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