Menu heads Muller and Huff as Chevrolet dominates WTCC first practice in Austria

Alain Menu led the opening practice times on the World Touring Car Championship's maiden visit to the 4.2km Salzburgring

Menu heads Muller and Huff as Chevrolet dominates WTCC first practice in Austria

Seeking his third WTCC victory of the season, Menu's fastest lap of 1m27.008s edged out championship leader and Chevrolet team-mate Yvan Muller by just 0.077s.

Menu appeared to have a slight edge throughout, setting an early marker before Muller moved into top spot shortly after one-third distance. Menu returned to P1 just after the half way point, shading the Frenchman's time by 0.003s and gradually extending his advantage on later runs.

Muller was one of several drivers who fell foul of the right-left chicane at the Austrian venue's Turn 1. The triple-world champion was twice forced to take to the escape road and rejoin at Turn 3, while Hungaroring reversed-grid victor Norbert Michelisz (Zengo BMW) also spun at the chicane.

The third factory Cruze of Rob Huff finished almost half a second in arrears in third. The Briton was denied a final opportunity to improve his position when Alex MacDowall's privately-entered bamboo-engineering Chevrolet brought out the red flags with two minutes of track time scheduled to run.

Demonstrating the strength of the Cruze at the noted power circuit, WTCC rookie MacDowall had impressed by holding fourth for much of the session.

Dutchman Tom Coronel would eventually demote MacDowall, but the BMW racer's final deficit to Menu of 0.812s suggests the ROAL Motorsport crew have work to do in the final practice session ahead of qualifying.

The leading SEAT runner of Slovakia Ring front row qualifier Aleksei Dudukalo finished over a second behind Menu in sixth. Dudukalo's Lukoil team-mate Gabriele Tarquini, the only non-Chevrolet driver to win a feature race this season, took an unaccustomed 20th.

Franz Engstler suffered unfulfilled potential at the preceding meeting at the Hungaroring, but the Team Engstler man claimed an encouraging seventh ahead of improving single-seater convert Pasquale Di Sabatino in the second bamboo entry.

MacDowall's incident occurred when he took to the gravel at Turn 5 while avoiding a collision with the rear of team-mate Di Sabatino. The session had earlier been red-flagged when Independents' Trophy front runner Stefano D'Aste's Wiechers-Sport BMW went off at the entrance to Turn 10.

Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m27.008s 2. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m27.085s + 0.077s 3. Robert Huff Chevrolet 1m27.492s + 0.484s 4. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m27.820s + 0.812s 5. Alex MacDowall bamboo Chevrolet 1m27.989s + 0.981s 6. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 1m28.164s + 1.156s 7. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m28.245s + 1.237s 8. Pasquale di Sabatino bamboo Chevrolet 1m28.338s + 1.330s 9. James Nash Arena Ford 1m28.408s + 1.400s 10. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 1m28.469s + 1.461s 11. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW 1m28.488s + 1.480s 12. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 1m28.549s + 1.541s 13. Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 1m28.710s + 1.702s 14. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 1m28.746s + 1.738s 15. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m28.763s + 1.755s 16. Darryl O'Young Special Tuning SEAT 1m28.928s + 1.920s 17. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m29.171s + 2.163s 18. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 1m29.252s + 2.244s 19. Gabor Weber Zengo BMW 1m29.313s + 2.305s 20. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 1m29.464s + 2.456s 21. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m29.773s + 2.765s 
shares
comments
Ecstatic Norbert Michelisz takes home World Touring Car victory in Hungary

Previous article

Ecstatic Norbert Michelisz takes home World Touring Car victory in Hungary

Next article

Alain Menu quickest again in World Touring Car practice two at the Salzburgring

Alain Menu quickest again in World Touring Car practice two at the Salzburgring
Load comments

About this article

Series WTCC
Drivers Sven Muller
Why joker laps are entering the mainstream Plus

Why joker laps are entering the mainstream

This season the World Touring Car Championship looks certain to bring joker laps to a circuit-racing world championship for the first time. And it need not be the daft gimmick people may think

WTCC
Apr 6, 2017
The making of the world's best tin-top driver Plus

The making of the world's best tin-top driver

He has been overshadowed at Citroen for the last three seasons, but the retirement of Yvan Muller means the world says farewell to one of touring-car racing's finest talents

WTCC
Sep 26, 2016
Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC Plus

Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC

Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC

WTCC
Jan 18, 2016
The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off Plus

The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off

A 17-car field on a 13-mile track - the WTCC's Nurburgring Nordschleife gamble wasn't going to be easy to pull off. STUART CODLING explains how the series made it work

WTCC
May 20, 2015
Insight from a Nordschleife master Plus

Insight from a Nordschleife master

World championship racing returns to the Nordschleife this weekend. STUART CODLING got a lesson from one of the legendary track's few masters

WTCC
May 15, 2015
Becoming world champion for £100k Plus

Becoming world champion for £100k

The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000

WTCC
Mar 23, 2015
Can the vanquished champion bounce back? Plus

Can the vanquished champion bounce back?

The World Touring Car Championship kicks off in Argentina this weekend, and Yvan Muller bids to reclaim his throne from Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez. He talks to STUART CODLING

WTCC
Mar 6, 2015
The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014

Citroen had no rivals during the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, and 'rookie' Jose Maria Lopez hit the ground running to emerge as a worthy champion. PETER MILLS rates the field

WTCC
Dec 3, 2014