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Shanghai WTCC: WSR's Colin Turkington heads first Shanghai practice

Colin Turkington WSR Chevrolet Shanghai WTCC 2012

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
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