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Tarquini fastest in first Curitiba session

Gabriele TarquiniGabriele 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 "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

"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
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