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Farfus fastest in first Curitiba practice

Augusto FarfusBMW 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
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