Rob Huff set the pace in the first free practice session at Monza – although Gabriele Tarquini was second fastest and the first driver of the weekend to split the works Chevrolet trio.
Huff set a time of 1:58.679 early in the session to top the times, two tenths faster than Tarquini behind. Yvan Muller was third fastest, just over half a second slower than Huff. Alain Menu was fourth fastest.
The session was briefly red flagged at around the half way point due to oil on the circuit which was dropped by James Nash’s Ford Focus S2000 TC.
Norbert Michelisz was fifth fastest, with Tiago Monteiro sixth fastest. Monteiro and team-mate Andrea Barlesi are running the SEAT TDI engine this weekend having received special dispensation from the Touring Car Committee to run the engine until SEAT Sport supply the new 1.6 turbo.
Rickard Rydell, making a one-off appearance this weekend for Chevrolet Motorsport Sweden, was seventh quickest, just ahead of an impressive performance from young Spaniard Pepe Oriola.
Franz Engslter was ninth quickest, whilst James Nash – making his début this weekend – took tenth despite the aforementioned oil pressure problems.
Making their first appearance this weekend are Alex MacDowall (11th), Gabor Weber (13th), Alberto Cerqui (15th), Andrea Barlesi (17th), Tom Chilton (18th), Pasquale Di Sabatino (22nd) and Isaac Tutumlu (23rd).
The second free practice session gets underway at 10:45 CET.