Yvan Muller set the pace in this morning’s first practice session for the World Touring Car Championship at Monza, beating works Honda pilot Tiago Monteiro by 0.712 seconds.
RML’s Muller set the time despite carrying 40 kg of ballast for driving the championship winning car from 2012. Second-placed Monteiro was a mere 0.001 seconds quicker than Pepe Oriola in third.
Tom Chilton was fourth – his strongest-ever WTCC practice session at the wheel of his RML Chevrolet – with Monteiro’s team-mate Gabriele Tarquini fifth fastest and the quickest Italian on home soil.
Brits Alex MacDowall and James Thompson were sixth and seventh fastest respectively, with Thompson giving the LADA Sport team their first WTCC appearance since Portugal in 2012.
Nika Racing’s Michel Nykjær, ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel and Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff completed the top ten respectively.
Fredy Barth, 18th fastest in his Wiechers-Sport BMW, suffered from his bonnet flipping up towards the end of the session, limiting his running.
There was also drama for Charles Kaki Ng, who caused damage to the front end of his BMW after making a mistake.
Second WTCC practice takes place at 11:45 CET (10:45 GMT).