Shanghai WTCC: WSR's Colin Turkington heads first Shanghai practice
|By Peter Mills||Saturday, November 3rd 2012, 03:08 GMT|
Colin Turkington kicked off his World Touring Car Championship comeback brilliantly by setting the pace in the opening practice session at Shanghai.
Enjoying a first outing in the WTCC in 2012, and six years after he last raced a front-wheel drive touring car, Turkington swiftly acclimatised to his WSR Chevrolet Cruze.
The former British Touring Car champion recorded a fastest time of 1m56.019s, almost 0.4s quicker than factory Chevrolet driver and joint championship leader Rob Huff.
"The last front-wheel drive car I raced was an MG in 2006," Turkington told Eurosport after the session.
"Since then I have been racing BMWs. I was a wee bit nervous before coming here, but the Cruze is a good car and has a good level of grip.
"I have only had 14 flying laps in this car, so a good weekend would be to finish behind the three blue [factory] Cruzes, but let's see how qualifying goes."
Lukoil Racing's Gabriele Tarquini demonstrated a strong improvement in pace over Friday's test to end the session third in his SEAT Leon.
Alain Menu was one of the few drivers underwhelmed by the Chinese Grand Prix venue during testing. But the championship outsider made a late effort in FP1 to improve from sixth to fourth fastest, just 0.001s shy of Tarquini's effort.
In the third of the factory Cruzes, world champion Yvan Muller trailed Menu in fifth place, ahead of Shanghai fan Tom Coronel's ROAL Motorsport BMW.
European Touring Car Cup winner Fernando Monje was a solid seventh, but his SUNRED SEAT team-mate Pepe Oriola caused the session to be red-flagged with little over a minute left when his Leon stopped on the pit straight.
Tiago Monteiro was 10th fastest in factory Honda, while Tom Boardman's lone Special Tuning SEAT was 12th.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Colin Turkington WSR Chevrolet 1m56.019s 2. Rob Huff Chevrolet 1m56.412s + 0.393s 3. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 1m56.546s + 0.527s 4. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m56.547s + 0.528s 5. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m56.691s + 0.672s 6. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m56.878s + 0.859s 7. Fernando Monje SUNRED SEAT 1m57.333s + 1.314s 8. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT 1m57.354s + 1.335s 9. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 1m57.360s + 1.341s 10. Tiago Monteiro Honda 1m57.393s + 1.374s 11. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 1m57.544s + 1.525s 12. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m57.683s + 1.664s 13. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m57.691s + 1.672s 14. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW 1m57.851s + 1.753s 15. James Nash Arena Ford 1m57.851s + 1.832s 16. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet 1m57.890s + 1.871s 17. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m57.946s + 1.927s 18. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 1m58.022s + 2.003s 19. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m58.167s + 2.148s 20. Hugo Valente SUNRED SEAT 1m58.198s + 2.179s 21. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 1m58.231s + 2.212s 22. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 1m58.294s + 2.275s 23. Eric Kwong Look Fong Chevrolet 2m00.433s + 4.414s 24. Filipe de Souza China Dragon Chevrolet 2m01.444s + 5.425s 25. Kelvin Leong Song Veng Honda 2m01.723s + 5.704s 26. Kin Veng Ng China Dragon Chevrolet 2m02.724s + 6.705s 27. Alex Liu Engstler BMW 2m06.176s + 10.157s 28. Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT No time