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Tarquini fastest in first Imola practice

Gabriele TarquiniGabriele Tarquini went quickest in the first World Touring Car Championship free practice session at Imola this morning.

SEAT set the pace throughout most of the session with reigning champion Yvan Muller leading the way for much of the half hour.

Tom Coronel leapt to the top of the timesheet in his independent SEAT Leon with 10 minutes remaining and looked set to retain the spot until the end.

But Tarquini, who is from Giulianova 150km south of Imola, unleashed a huge improvement on his final quick lap to lower the bar from Coronel's 1m57.2s to 1m56.6s.

Alex Zanardi - from Bologna just 20km away - then made it an Italian 1-2 in the last minute of the session, slotting into second ahead of Muller, who had improved to knock Coronel down to fourth.

Augusto Farfus was fifth fastest, ahead of fellow BMW driver Sergio Hernandez, with Jordi Gene's SEAT leading the Chevrolets of Alain Menu and Rob Huff.

Jorg Muller completed the top 10 for BMW, while the third Italian driver, Nicola Larini, was 11th ahead of Rickard Rydell and Andy Priaulx.

Tiago Monteiro was 14th in the fifth works SEAT, with Coronel's closest independent class rivals Felix Porteiro and Stefano D'Aste 15th and 16th in their BMWs, ahead of James Thompson in the first of the Ladas.

Pos  Driver             Car        Time       Gap
 1.  Gabriele Tarquini  SEAT       1m56.660s
 2.  Alex Zanardi       BMW        1m56.947s  + 0.287s
 3.  Yvan Muller        SEAT       1m57.030s  + 0.370s
 4.  Tom Coronel        SEAT       1m57.297s  + 0.637s
 5.  Augusto Farfus     BMW        1m57.370s  + 0.710s
 6.  Sergio Hernandez   BMW        1m57.391s  + 0.731s
 7.  Jordi Gene         SEAT       1m57.629s  + 0.969s
 8.  Alain Menu         Chevrolet  1m57.631s  + 0.971s
 9.  Robert Huff        Chevrolet  1m57.763s  + 1.103s
10.  Jorg Muller        BMW        1m57.789s  + 1.129s
11.  Nicola Larini      Chevrolet  1m57.791s  + 1.131s
12.  Rickard Rydell     SEAT       1m57.810s  + 1.15 s
13.  Andy Priaulx       BMW        1m57.872s  + 1.212s
14.  Tiago Monteiro     SEAT       1m57.901s  + 1.241s
15.  Felix Porteiro     BMW        1m58.133s  + 1.473s
16.  Stefano D'Aste     BMW        1m58.216s  + 1.556s
17.  James Thompson     Lada       1m58.260s  + 1.600s
18.  Mehdi Bennani      SEAT       1m58.554s  + 1.894s
19.  Franz Engstler     BMW        1m58.687s  + 2.027s
20.  Jaap van Lagen     Lada       1m58.874s  + 2.214s
21.  Kristian Poulsen   BMW        1m59.477s  + 2.817s
22.  Tom Boardman       SEAT       1m59.483s  + 2.823s
23.  Andrea Larini      SEAT       1m59.611s  + 2.951s
24.  Kirill Ladygin     Lada       1m59.743s  + 3.083s
25.  Fabio Fabiani      BMW        2m03.932s  + 7.272s

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