Norbert Michelisz sets the pace in fog-disrupted first practice

Norbert Michelisz sets the pace in fog-disrupted first practice

WTCC practice
Photo: Francois Flamand / DPPI

Honda’s Norbert Michelisz set the pace in a heavily disrupted first World Touring Car Championship practice session at the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo in Argentina, which was delayed and then ended prematurely due to the visibility issues.

The session was initially delayed by 45 minutes due to the early morning fog at the circuit, before eventually getting underway at 09:15 local time.

A first red flag stoppage lasting for seven minutes was caused when Zengő Motorsport newcomer Zsolt Szabó stopped on the circuit before most of the field had posted any meaningful times. Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff had just moments earlier laid down the benchmark with a time of 1 minute 46.066 seconds.

When the session resumed it was then Honda’s Michelisz who went quickest, putting in a lap of 1 minute 44.170 seconds to take the top time.

Championship leader Tiago Monteiro was second fastest, just under half a second back, with Nicky Catsburg the leading Polestar Volvo driver in third.

Mehdi Bennani was the first of the Citroën racers in fourth, ahead of Polestar’s Néstor Girolami in fifth, who was the only other driver to be within a second of the pace.

There was around 17 minutes of running before the red flags flew for a second time due to fog once again descending onto the circuit, with the officials taking the decision not to restart the session, which was originally planned to run for 45 minutes.

Second practice is scheduled to take place at 10:50 local time (14:50 BST, 15:50 CEST).

Session results

POSNODRIVERNATENTRANTCARLAPSTIMEGAP
15Norbert MICHELISZHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC61:44.1700.000
218Tiago MONTEIROHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC71:44.5980.428
363Nicky CATSBURGPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar51:44.6700.500
425Mehdi BENNANISébastien Loeb RacingCitroën C-Elysée WTCC61:45.0140.844
561Néstor GIROLAMIPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar41:45.1230.953
662Thed BJÖRKPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo S60 Polestar51:45.2671.097
712Rob HUFFALL-INKL.COM Münnich MotorsportCitroën C-Elysée WTCC61:45.4141.244
834Ryo MICHIGAMIHonda Racing Team JASHonda Civic WTCC71:45.8561.686
93Tom CHILTONSébastien Loeb RacingCitroën C-Elysée WTCC61:46.0891.919
109Tom CORONELROAL MotorsportChevrolet RML Cruze TC141:46.4242.254
1186Esteban GUERRIERICampos RacingChevrolet RML Cruze TC141:46.4872.317
1227John FILIPPISébastien Loeb RacingCitroën C-Elysée WTCC61:46.6122.442
1368Yann EHRLACHERRC MotorsportLADA Vesta WTCC61:47.1903.020
1424Kevin GLEASONRC MotorsportLADA Vesta WTCC71:47.7313.561
1599Dániel NAGYZengő Motorsport KftHonda Civic WTCC61:49.3235.153
1666Zsolt Dávid SZABÓZengő Motorsport KftHonda Civic WTCC1No time N/A