WTCR Budapest: Girolami tops first practice session for Munnich

Nestor Girolami beat Munnich Motorsport team-mate Esteban Guerrieri to the fastest time in opening World Touring Car Cup practice at the Hungaroring, as Hondas locked out the top three spots

WTCR Budapest: Girolami tops first practice session for Munnich

Girolami dragged his Honda Civic Type R to a fastest time of 1m53.919s moments before the chequered flag was shown at the end of the 45-minute session to deny Hungarian teenager Attila Tassi the fastest time.

Guerrieri - who lies second in the drivers' standings after the Marrakech season opener - then snuck into second with his final lap of the session, ending up 0.124 seconds slower than team-mate Girolami.

Tassi held on to third in his KCMG Honda with a best time of 1m54.286s at the venue where he claimed both TCR International Series wins in 2017 and last year made his WTCR debut.

Jean-Karl Vernay put his WRT Audi RS3 LMS fourth, ending up more than half a second adrift of the benchmark time, 0.003s ahead of the Comtoyou Racing Cupra of Aurelien Panis - who sat out the final 15 minutes of the session after he was shown a black flag for track limits.

Panis still ended up fifth ahead of team-mate Tom Coronel, while early pacesetter Norbert Michelisz was seventh in the fastest of the BRC Racing Hyundai i30 Ns.

Three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx - who has never raced at the Hungaroring previously - was eighth in the best of Cyan Racing's Lynk & Co 03s, ahead of Augusto Farfus (BRC Hyundai) and the fourth Honda of Tiago Monteiro.

Kevin Ceccon was the faster of the two Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giuliettas in FP1 in 13th, ending up six places and half a second clear of team-mate Ma Qing Hua.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI appears to be struggling for a second round in a row.

Rob Huff was once again the fastest of Sebastien Loeb Racing's quartet of drivers in 15th, with double World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson 21st.

Mehdi Bennani and Benjamin Leuchter were 25th and 26th and slowest of the full-season WTCR drivers, ahead only of wildcard entrant Tamas Tenke - driving a Cupra for the Hungarian Zengo Motorsport squad, a previous stalwart of World Touring Cars.

While the air temperature was around 27C for FP1, rain is expected to arrive overnight and affect FP2, qualifying and the opening race on Saturday.

A TCR Balance of Performance bulletin issued after FP1 confirmed the four Golfs - which are all running the common TCR ECU that will be used by all cars from 2020 - have been given a weight break of 10 kilograms. All other WTCR cars remain unchanged.

FP1 result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 1m53.919s
2 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 0.124s
3 Attila Tassi KCMG Honda 0.367s
4 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 0.588s
5 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 0.591s
6 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 0.609s
7 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 0.657s
8 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 0.725s
9 Augusto Farfus BRC Racing Team Hyundai 0.815s
10 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 0.893s
11 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 0.989s
12 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 0.999s
13 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 1.104s
14 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 1.203s
15 Daniel Haglof PWR Racing Cupra 1.261s
16 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 1.262s
17 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 1.275s
18 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 1.461s
19 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 1.649s
20 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 1.667s
21 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 1.670s
22 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 1.859s
23 Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai 1.892s
24 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 2.055s
25 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 2.276s
26 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 2.727s
27 Tamas Tenke Zengo Motorsport Cupra 5.261s
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How WTCR's last real independent has stayed in play

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Honda driver Girolami beats Muller to Hungary WTCR pole

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