Shanghai WTCC: Alain Menu heads Chevrolet clean-sweep in FP2
|By Peter Mills
||Saturday, November 3rd 2012, 04:48 GMT
Alain Menu topped the final free practice session for the penultimate round of the World Touring Car Championship at Shanghai on Saturday morning.
As the factory Chevrolet Cruzes revealed more of their potential, each of the team's three drivers held the top spot during the session.
But it was Swiss veteran Menu, an outside bet for this year's title, who secured the fastest time with a 1m55.874s lap.
Yvan Muller was just 0.039s further back in second ahead of Rob Huff, with whom he shares the championship lead. The focus of the weekend will inevitably be the finely-poised battle in the drivers' standings between the RML Chevy men.
ROAL Motorsport's Tom Coronel took his BMW around 0.1s quicker than in the earlier session to wind up as the best of the non-Cruze drivers in fourth.
Independents' points leader Norbert Michelisz was fifth fastest, although the Zengo BMW racer was over 1s slower then Menu's impressive benchmark.
Michelisz's rival for the Independents' Trophy, Pepe Oriola, was down in 11th, following a drama-filled opening session in which his SUNRED SEAT stopped out on track.
Lukoil SEAT driver Gabriele Tarquini completed the top six ahead of a respectable effort from Special Tuning's Tom Boardman, who edged out the WSR Chevrolet of series returnee and FP1 pacesetter Colin Turkington.
Despite several drivers reporting a low-grip track, a half-spin by Kelvin Leong's Honda Accord and a quick rotation by Alex Liu's Engstler BMW were among relatively few incidents.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m55.874s
2. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m55.913s + 0.039s
3. Rob Huff Chevrolet 1m56.349s + 0.475s
4. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m56.766s + 0.892s
5. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 1m57.031s + 1.157s
6. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 1m57.059s + 1.185s
7. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m57.250s + 1.376s
8. Colin Turkington WSR Chevrolet 1m57.303s + 1.429s
9. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 1m57.319s + 1.445s
10. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m57.362s + 1.488s
11. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT 1m57.444s + 1.570s
12. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 1m57.451s + 1.577s
13. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet 1m57.511s + 1.637s
14. Hugo Valente SUNRED SEAT 1m57.631s + 1.680s
15. Tiago Monteiro Honda 1m57.631s + 1.757s
16. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m57.661s + 1.787s
17. Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT 1m57.700s + 1.826s
18. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 1m57.834s + 1.960s
19. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW 1m57.977s + 2.103s
20. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m58.037s + 2.163s
21. James Nash Arena Ford 1m58.220s + 2.346s
22. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 1m58.252s + 2.378s
23. Fernando Monje SUNRED SEAT 1m58.388s + 2.514s
24. Eric Kwong Look Fong Chevrolet 2m00.605s + 4.731s
25. Kelvin Leong Song Veng Honda 2m01.899s + 6.025s
26. Filipe de Souza China Dragon Chevrolet 2m02.421s + 6.547s
27. Kin Veng Ng China Dragon Chevrolet 2m04.112s + 8.238s
28. Alex Liu Engstler BMW 2m04.589s + 8.715s