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Youngster Pepe Oriola sets Sonoma pace

Tuenti Racing’s Pepe Priola set the pace in first free practice for the World Touring Cars at the Sonoma Raceway in California, heading RML’s Tom Chilton and Yvan Muller in a Chevrolet 1-2-3.

Click here for the full first practice times.

Spaniard Oriola went fastest after approximately eight minutes and remained on top thereafter, with his time of 1 minute 45.966 seconds proving unbeatable for the remainder of the session.

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The session had to be red-flagged almost as soon as it had begun, when ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel went off into the barriers on his first flying lap. Whilst the Dutchman’s car was quickly recovered, it suffered moderate front-end damage that ruled him out for the remainder of the session.

Fourth fastest was Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini, ahead of Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff who once again out-performed his German team-mates.

Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Franz Engstler was the top BMW driver in sixth after an impressive session, despite a spin at turn one which was later replicated by his team-mate Charles Ng.

Zengo Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz was seventh fastest, although the Hungarian had to abort his final timed lap when he suffered a high-speed off at Turn 8a.

Marc Basseng joined team-mate Huff inside the top ten and was the first driver over a second off Oriola’s pace. PB Racing’s Stefano D’Aste and Special Tuning Racing’s Tom Boardman completed the top ten.

Neither of bamboo-engineering’s Alex MacDowall or James Nash made it into the top ten, with the Brits in 13th and 18th respectively.

Honda’s Tiago Monteiro also struggled for pace during the session, ending up down in 17th having made several mistakes during the session, including cutting the chicane at turn nine.

Second practice takes place at 11:00 PDT (19:00 BST; 20:00 CEST).

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