Yvan Muller pips Gabriele Tarquini first Hungaroring World Touring Car practice
|By Peter Mills||Saturday, May 5th 2012, 08:07 GMT|
RML Chevrolet's World Touring Car Championship points leader Yvan Muller edged out a resurgent Gabriele Tarquini in opening free practice for round five at the Hungaroring.
Frenchman Muller was 0.065 seconds faster than last weekend's Slovakia Ring race-winner Tarquini in the improving Lukoil SEAT Leon.
The 2009 world champion was half a second adrift of Muller for much of the session, but demoted Alain Menu's RML Chevrolet Cruze to third three minutes before the chequered flag.
Fresh from his maiden WTCC pole position at the Slovakia Ring last weekend, local hope Norbert Michelisz also mixed it with the factory Chevrolets.
On his final lap, the Zengo Motorsport BMW man recorded a time in the low 1m56s to edge out the third RML Cruze of Slovakia Ring reversed grid victor Rob Huff.
Tom Coronel's ROAL Motorsport BMW took sixth, 0.021s ahead of Special Tuning SEAT racer Darryl O'Young.
Making its maiden appearance in the championship, the Lada Granta Sport of James Thompson finished a respectable 1.8s off Muller's benchmark pace in 19th.
SUNRED Racing's Andrea Barlesi is absent for the second consecutive weekend with sponsorship difficulties, while Mehdi Bennani is the lone Proteam BMW entrant after the Italian team's second driver Isaac Tutumlu elected to switch to the Porsche Supercup earlier this week.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m55.594s 2. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 1m55.659s + 0.065s 3. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m55.783s + 0.189s 4. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 1m56.143s + 0.549s 5. Robert Huff Chevrolet 1m56.286s + 0.692s 6. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m56.666s + 1.072s 7. Darryl O'Young Special Tuning SEAT 1m56.687s + 1.093s 8. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 1m56.703s + 1.109s 9. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m56.757s + 1.163s 10. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m56.870s + 1.276s 11. Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 1m57.002s + 1.408s 12. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 1m57.043s + 1.449s 13. Gabor Weber Zengo BMW 1m57.092s + 1.498s 14. Alex MacDowall bamboo Chevrolet 1m57.137s + 1.543s 15. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 1m57.225s + 1.631s 16. Pasquale di Sabatino bamboo Chevrolet 1m57.244s + 1.650s 17. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 1m57.341s + 1.747s 18. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW 1m57.375s + 1.781s 19. James Thompson Lada Granta Sport 1m57.379s + 1.785s 20. James Nash Arena Ford 1m57.431s + 1.837s 21. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m58.305s + 2.711s 22. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m58.396s + 2.802s