Tarquini fastest in first Curitiba session
|By Steven English||Friday, March 6th 2009, 19:18 GMT|
Gabriele Tarquini set the fastest time in Friday's test session ahead of the opening round of the World Touring Car Championship in Brazil this weekend.
The Italian snatched the top spot in the closing minutes of the session when he took his SEAT round the Curitiba circuit in 1:25.497, just half a tenth clear of the BMWs of Augusto Farfus and Jorg Muller.
Tarquini finished runner-up to his SEAT Sport teammate Yvan Muller in last year's championship, but says it is too soon to read into the laptimes.
"To speak of performance now is too early," he told autosport.com. "We must wait for the qualifying sessions and maybe even the races. We know we have lost some performance from last year in the regulations, and we will maybe not be so quick in the races as in qualifying.
"I am happy with the start so far. Last year I made a really good season, I was fighting all the time at the front, and I hope I can do the same again this year."
Andy Priaulx was fourth quickest today in his BMW, with the four remaining factory SEATs filling fifth to eighth places.
Nicola Larini was fastest of the Chevrolets in ninth place, with Alain Menu 10th and Rob Huff 12th. But Huff says the team are pleased with the progress of the new Cruze after its first session.
"The initial set-up wasn't too far off where we wanted to be and we're pretty pleased with where we are," he told autosport.com.
"It's difficult to tell what the others are doing, but I put a new set of tyres on in the middle of the session and went P8. I think just inside the top 10 is where we are at pace-wise at the moment, and we'll work on that through the rest of the weekend to find the optimum set-up."
Felix Porteiro was the quickest of the independent runners in 11th place, with the BMW Team Italy-Spain pairing of Alex Zanardi and Sergio Hernandez rounding out the factory cars in 13th and 14th places.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 1:25.497 2. Augusto Farfus BMW 1:25.554 +0.057 3. Jorg Muller BMW 1:25.555 +0.058 4. Andy Priaulx BMW 1:25.737 +0.240 5. Yvan Muller SEAT 1:25.883 +0.386 6. Rickard Rydell SEAT 1:25.886 +0.389 7. Tiago Monteiro SEAT 1:26.055 +0.558 8. Jordi Gene SEAT 1:26.130 +0.633 9. Nicola Larini Chevrolet 1:26.301 +0.804 10. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1:26.402 +0.905 11. Felix Porteiro BMW 1:26.785 +1.288 12. Rob Huff Chevrolet 1:27.000 +1.503 13. Alex Zanardi BMW 1:27.010 +1.513 14. Sergio Hernandez BMW 1:27.051 +1.554 15. Stefano D'Aste BMW 1:27.262 +1.765 16. Frank Engstler BMW 1:27.267 +1.770 17. Jaap van Lagen Lada 1:27.752 +2.255 18. Marin Colak SEAT 1:27.840 +2.343 19. George Tanev BMW 1:28.543 +3.046 20. Tom Boardman SEAT 1:28.730 +3.233 21. Kirill Ladygin Lada 1:28.984 +3.487 22. Viktor Shapovalov Lada 1:29.981 +4.484