Huff tops practice, Tarquini crashes
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, November 20th 2009, 04:57 GMT|
Chevrolet's Rob Huff upstaged the World Touring Car title contenders with the quickest time in Friday's final free practice session - but all eyes were on points leader Gabriele Tarquini who crashed heavily in the closing stages.
Tarquini is heading into the final round of the season with a two-point lead in the drivers' title chase over SEAT team-mate Yvan Muller - but his hopes of a smooth weekend were dashed when he slid into the barriers just before Police with three minutes of practice remaining.
Although Tarquini's car suffered damage to its right front in the accident, the SEAT team is optimistic that it can be fixed before the afternoon's crucial qualifying session.
Tarquini's accident brought out the red flags to bring an early end to the session, and it guaranteed that Huff secured the top spot on the timesheet.
Huff had been quickest for the entire session and it was left to his rivals to battle for the second spot as the drivers made their final preparations for qualifying.
In the end, it was three-time WTCC champion Andy Priaulx who took the place – having pushed hard in the closing stages and let his BMW brush the barriers as he found the limits.
Fellow BMW driver Jorg Muller was third quickest, after working on slipstreaming tactics with his team's only remaining title contender – Augusto Farfus – who ended up fourth overall.
SEAT's fastest driver was Rickard Rydell in fifth, with the team's other title hopeful Yvan Muller was eighth fastest.
Apart from Tarquini's accident, the only other notable incident involved BMW's Sergio Hernandez, who spun at Lisboa early on.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Rob Huff Chevrolet 2:31.725 2. Andy Priaulx BMW 2:31.857 +0.132 3. Jorg Muller BMW 2:31.909 +0.184 4. Augusto Farfus BMW 2:31.992 +0.267 5. Rickard Rydell SEAT 2:32.129 +0.404 6. Alex Zanardi BMW 2:32.175 +0.450 7. Alain Menu Chevrolet 2:32.181 +0.456 8. Yvan Muller SEAT 2:32.197 +0.472 9. Tiago Monteiro SEAT 2:32.349 +0.624 10. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 2:32.403 +0.678 11. Jordi Gene SEAT 2:32.608 +0.883 12. Tom Coronel SEAT 2:32.865 +1.140 13. Stefano D'Aste BMW 2:33.222 +1.497 14. Nicola Larini Chevrolet 2:33.443 +1.718 15. Sergio Hernandez BMW 2:34.279 +2.554 16. Andre Couto SEAT 2:34.616 +2.891 17. Felix Porteiro BMW 2:34.678 +2.953 18. James Thompson LADA 2:34.751 +3.026 19. Kristian Poulsen BMW 2:36.038 +4.313 20. Jaap van Lagen LADA 2:36.118 +4.393 21. Tom Boardman SEAT 2:36.679 +4.954 22. Nobuteru Taniguchi BMW 2:37.638 +5.913 23. Henry Ho BMW 2:39.482 +7.757 24. Franz Engstler BMW 2:43.248 +11.523 25. Joseph Rosa Merszei BMW 2:44.857 +13.132 26. Liu Lic Ka BMW 2:52.274 +20.549