Macau WTCC: Honda's title hopeful Michelisz beats Huff in FP1

Honda driver Norbert Michelisz led the way in the first World Touring Car Championship practice session in Macau in preparation for Sunday's Guia race

Championship hopeful Michelisz jumped to the top of the times with 15 minutes of the session gone, and sat more than a second clear of his rivals for much of the remaining half hour.

Rob Huff eventually got within four tenths of a second of the fastest time in his Munnich Motorsport Citroen C-Elysee after a raft of improvements in the final 15 minutes of the session, but got no closer to the 2m27.802s lap recorded by Michelisz aboard his Honda Civic.

Tom Chilton headed a Sebastien Loeb Racing 3-4-5 in his C-Elysee ahead of Mehdi Bennani and Ma Qing Hua, who is returning to the WTCC for the Macau event after two years away from the series.

Bennani had been Michelisz's closest rival early on but did not finish the session after clattering into the barriers on the approach to the Melco Hairpin with three minutes remaining, with his C-Elysee removed by a recovery crane before the end of the session.

Nestor Girolami was fastest of the Volvo contingent and topped a tight pack of cars from sixth to ninth, beating Michelisz's factory Honda team-mates Ryo Michigami and Esteban Guerrieri, who is deputising for the injured Tiago Monteiro for a second round in a row.

The Honda pair separated Girolami and his team-mates Nicky Catsburg and Thed Bjork, who completed the top 10 in their respective Volvo S60s.

Points leader Bjork ended the session 2.618 seconds slower than chief title rival Michelisz.

Two drivers failed to set a time; Daniel Nagy brought the session to an early halt after stopping his Zengo Motorsport Honda Civic on his out-lap, while Campos Racing's Kin-Pong Clerebold Chan did not take to the circuit.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m27.802s - 11
2 Rob Huff Munnich Motorsport Citroen 2m28.154s 0.352s 13
3 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m28.745s 0.943s 12
4 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m29.039s 1.237s 11
5 Ma Qinghua Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m29.826s 2.024s 11
6 Nestor Girolami Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 2m29.929s 2.127s 12
7 Ryo Michigami Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m30.000s 2.198s 12
8 Esteban Guerrieri Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m30.011s 2.209s 13
9 Nicky Catsburg Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 2m30.084s 2.282s 13
10 Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 2m30.420s 2.618s 14
11 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 2m31.442s 3.640s 13
12 John Filippi Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m31.603s 3.801s 13
13 Yann Ehrlacher RC Motorsport Lada 2m32.078s 4.276s 14
14 Kevin Gleason RC Motorsport Lada 2m32.928s 5.126s 12
15 Zsolt Szabo Zengo Motorsport Honda 2m36.628s 8.826s 9
16 Ka Lok Mak RC Motorsport Lada 2m38.501s 10.699s 11
17 Po Wah Wong Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m53.766s 25.964s 9
18 Daniel Nagy Zengo Motorsport Honda - - 0
19 Clerebold Chan Campos Racing Chevrolet - - 0


Tiago Monteiro ruled out of Macau WTCC round due to injuries

Macau WTCC: Rob Huff puts Munnich Citroen on pole with record lap