Macau WTCC: Yvan Muller blitzes first practice
|By Sam Tremayne||Friday, November 15th 2013, 01:06 GMT|
Yvan Muller blitzed the first World Touring Car Championship practice on the streets of Macau, finishing nearly three quarters of a second clear of the rest of the field.
The fight for top spot had been a close run affair over the opening 15 minutes, with Muller, Pepe Oriola, Tom Chilton and then Rob Huff all enjoying spells out front as times steadily improved.
Muller ended that dynamic in emphatic style however as he set a 2m31.121s that blew his rivals out of the water.
Oriola twice threatened a response when he ducked under Muller's sector one split, only to lose swathes of time through the intricate middle sector.
He did at least improve marginally to secure second, and finish as the only man to get within 0.75s of the four-time champion.
Huff, who had languished down in 31st before his first flyer moved him to the top of the timesheets, ended the session third.
That put him narrowly ahead of the first works Honda of Tiago Monteiro and Muller's team-mate Tom Chilton, with the trio covered by just over one tenth of a second.
James Thompson put his Lada sixth, just edging out Gabriele Tarquini in the second factory Civic.
Stefano D'Aste finished as top BMW in eighth, but was almost eight tenths of a second down on Tarquini. Marc Basseng and Tom Coronel rounded out the top 10.
As was the case in Thursday's pre-weekend test the session was punctuated by several crashes, the heaviest coming when Ng Kin Veng lost his China Dragon Chevrolet at Police and speared into the barriers.
Campos newboy Konstantins Calko locked up right behind and hit the side of Veng's Cruze, damaging his SEAT - although he then optimistically continued for a further two laps before pitting under the encouragement of the black and orange flags.
Eurico de Jesus later went off at Maternity, but was able to rejoin without damage, while Norbert Michelisz and Tarquini came together at Lisboa with seven minutes to run.
The Zengo Honda man had not set a competitive time at that point, but managed to salvage something from the session by continuing - rear bodywork missing - and moving into 13th at the flag, albeit some 2.7s off the outright pace.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet 2m31.121s 2. Pepe Oriola Tuenti Chevrolet 2m31.838s +0.717s 3. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT 2m31.920s +0.799s 4. Tiago Monteiro Honda 2m31.937s +0.816s 5. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet 2m32.069s +0.948s 6. James Thompson Lada 2m32.174s +1.053s 7. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 2m32.384s +1.263s 8. Stefano D'Aste PB BMW 2m33.158s +2.037s 9. Marc Basseng Munnich SEAT 2m33.233s +2.112s 10. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 2m33.415s +2.294s 11. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 2m33.488s +2.367s 12. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 2m33.811s +2.690s 13. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 2m33.867s +2.746s 14. Hugo Valente Campos SEAT 2m33.940s +2.819s 15. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 2m34.045s +2.924s 16. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 2m34.208s +3.087s 17. Darryl O'Young ROAL BMW 2m34.572s +3.451s 18. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet 2m34.652s +3.531s 19. Freddy Barth Wiechers BMW 2m36.218s +5.097s 20. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada 2m37.244s +6.123s 21. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 2m37.306s +6.185s 22. Michael Soong Campos SEAT 2m38.261s +7.140s 23. Filipe de Souza China Dragon Chevrolet 2m38.512s +7.391s 24. Rene Munnich Munnich SEAT 2m38.524s +7.403s 25. Henry Ho Engstler BMW 2m38.867s +7.746s 26. Konstantins Calko Campos SEAT 2m42.251s +11.130s 27. Kin Veng Ng China Dragon Chevrolet 2m42.840s +11.719s 28. Jeronimo Badaraco Son Veng Chevrolet 2m43.125s +12.004s 29. Joseph Rosa-Merszei Engstler BMW 2m43.515s +12.394s 30. Ka Lok Mak RPM BMW 2m43.560s +12.439s 31. Celio Alves Dias China Dragon Chevrolet 2m43.803s +12.682s 32. Eurico De Jesus PAS Macau Honda 2m44.553s +13.432s 33. Yukinori Taniguchi Nika Chevrolet 2m47.280s +16.159s 34. Lam Kam San China Dragon Chevrolet 2m48.762s +17.641s