Farfus fastest in first Curitiba practice
|By Steven English||Saturday, March 6th 2010, 12:41 GMT|
BMW continued to set the pace at the opening round of the World Touring Car season at Curitiba, with Augusto Farfus going fastest in the first free practice session.
The Curitiba local was quickest in yesterday's test session and resumed that form in practice today. His early effort was bettered by team-mate Andy Priaulx and the Chevrolets of Rob Huff and Alain Menu.
For much of the half-hour session, the top five cars were covered by just 0.4s, with Norbert Michelisz's diesel SEAT joining the fray. But in the last five minutes both Farfus and Priaulx improved their times, with the Brazilian coming out on top by just 0.012s.
Huff remained ahead of Menu - by 0.014s - with Michelisz's Zengo-Dension car the only other in the 1m24s and therefore at the head of the new rookie class.
Reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini was sixth quickest, half a second off Farfus's pace, but only completed four laps. Jordi Gene was seventh with Yvan Muller's Chevrolet and the SR-Sport SEATs of Tiago Monteiro and Tom Coronel completing the top 10.
Michel Nykjaer was 11th in his diesel SEAT, with Darryl O'Young the best of the independents in 12th.
Former works BMW driver Sergio Hernandez ended his session in the wall at Turn 8 after over-correcting a slide, locking the brakes and sliding straight on. He ended up 16th on the timesheet.
The session was brought to a premature conclusion by series newcomer Harry Vaulkhard, who crashed his Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Lacetti into the tyre wall on the outside of the final corner and spun back into the track. There were only two minutes left on the clock, so the session was not restarted.
Pos Driver Car Time Gap 1. Augusto Farfus BMW 1m24.578s 2. Andy Priaulx BMW 1m24.590s +0.012 3. Rob Huff Chevrolet 1m24.769s +0.191 4. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m24.783s +0.205 5. Norbert Michelisz SEAT 1m24.893s +0.315 6. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 1m25.016s +0.438 7. Jordi Gene SEAT 1m25.041s +0.463 8. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m25.116s +0.538 9. Tiago Monteiro SEAT 1m25.156s +0.578 10. Tom Coronel SEAT 1m25.303s +0.725 11. Michel Nykjaer SEAT 1m25.737s +1.159 12. Darryl O'Young Chevrolet 1m25.797s +1.219 13. Fredy Barth SEAT 1m25.991s +1.413 14. Mehdi Bennani BMW 1m26.000s +1.422 15. Franz Engstler BMW 1m26.231s +1.471 16. Sergio Hernandez BMW 1m26.298s +1.538 17. Stefano D'Aste BMW 1m26.362s +1.784 18. Harry Vaulkhard Chevrolet 1m26.517s +1.939 19. Andrei Romanov BMW 1m28.320s +3.742