Alain Menu leads damp opening World Touring Car practice in Macau
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, November 18th 2011, 01:22 GMT|
Alain Menu led the way during first practice for the World Touring Car Championship season finale in Macau on Friday, but tricky weather conditions meant drivers were adopting a cautious approach.
The Swiss driver swapped the top spot on the timesheets with Chevrolet team-mates Rob Huff and Yvan Muller for much of the 30-minute session, as the drying track meant lap times improved throughout.
Although a dry line did appear in the closing minutes of practice, it was not quite dry enough for anyone to try slicks - but second practice will almost certainly be dry enough for that.
Menu's best lap came right at the end of the session, as he headed Muller and Huff - with the trio being separated by less than 0.5 seconds.
Tiago Monteiro ended the session with the fourth best time, ahead of fellow SEAT drivers Fredy Barth and Gabriele Tarquini.
Despite the tricky track conditions, the session passed with relatively few incidents. Kristian Poulsen in the Engstler BMW ran off the track, after he took to the escape road at Moorish Hill. He was able to rejoin the action.
Filipe de Souza in the Corsa Motorsport Chevrolet Lacetti brushed the barriers at Mandarin and left debris on the track, while Tom Coronel was forced to pit after hitting the barriers at R Bend late on.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 2m44.858s 2. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 2m45.102s + 0.244s 3. Rob Huff Chevrolet 2m45.349s + 0.491s 4. Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT 2m47.422s + 2.564s 5. Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT 2m47.465s + 2.607s 6. Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT 2m47.682s + 2.824s 7. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 2m48.572s + 3.714s 8. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet 2m48.626s + 3.768s 9. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 2m49.210s + 4.352s 10. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT 2m49.295s + 4.437s 11. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 2m49.821s + 4.963s 12. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 2m50.133s + 5.275s 13. Javier Villa Proteam BMW 2m51.444s + 6.586s 14. Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 2m51.615s + 6.757s 15. Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo 2m51.741s + 6.883s 16. Andre Couto SUNRED SEAT 2m52.355s + 7.497s 17. Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT 2m54.184s + 9.326s 18. Aleksei Dudukalo SUNRED SEAT 2m55.035s + 10.177s 19. Filipe de Souza Corsa Chevrolet 2m59.992s + 15.134s 20. Joseph Merszei Engstler BMW 3m00.411s + 15.553s 21. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 3m02.630s + 17.772s 22. Gary Kwok Wiechers BMW 3m06.296s + 21.438s 23. Mak Ka Lok RPM BMW 3m07.204s + 22.346s 24. Philip Ma Proteam BMW 3m08.443s + 23.585s