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Tiago Monteiro fastest in wet Beijing test

Honda’s Tiago Monteiro was the fastest driver in a wet first test session for the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at the Beijing Goldenport Park Circuit, 0.362 seconds ahead of Citroën’s José María López.

“The track is still very greasy and slippery, especially with the humidity of the morning,” said Monteiro afterwards. “It was quite tricky at the beginning, but conditions were evolving quickly, and everybody was improving times fast towards the end. I am happy that I was the fastest in doing so, probably because we changed a couple of things in the set-up during the session and that worked out well.”

Championship leader López was the top Citroën driver in second in tricky damp conditions, some three tenths behind the Honda driver.

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LADA’s Rob Huff was an impressive third fastest around the tight and twisty circuit, improving his time late on as the circuit continued to dry, ahead of the second works’ Honda of Gabriele Tarquini in fourth.

Huff said afterwards that he was pleased with the conditions as they favour him and his Granta car. “Good session, although there wasn’t much grip,” said Huff. “A short track, where you don’t reach very high top speeds, certainly suits us well, especially with a damp track. I devoted the session to discovering the track and getting an idea of the tricky spots.”

Fifth placed Sébastien Loeb was the only other driver to be within one second of the pace. López’s title rival Yvan Muller could only manage the seventh best time behind Proteam Racing’s Mehdi Bennani. Muller himself endured a spin at turn 14, one of several drivers to find the conditions challenging.

Campos Racing’s John Filippi was fastest in the TC2 class, ahead of new team-mate for the weekend Michael Soong. The Hong Kong racer brought out the red flags just over half-way through the session when he spun into the gravel and got stuck at Turn 13.

First free practice takes place at 12:20 Beijing time (06:20 CEST, 05:20 BST).

1 18 TC1 Tiago MONTEIRO Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 17 1:17.550
2 37 TC1 José María LÓPEZ Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 16 1:17.912 0.362
3 12 TC1 Rob HUFF LADA Sport LADA Granta 1.6T 19 1:18.233 0.683
4 2 TC1 Gabriele TARQUINI Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 13 1:18.439 0.889
5 9 TC1 Sébastien LOEB Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 17 1:18.455 0.905
6 25 TC1 Mehdi BENNANI Proteam Racing Honda Civic WTCC 18 1:18.590 1.040
7 1 TC1 Yvan MULLER Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 15 1:18.879 1.329
8 4 TC1 Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 16 1:18.907 1.357
9 11 TC1 James THOMPSON LADA Sport LADA Granta 1.6T 17 1:19.176 1.626
10 14 TC1 Mikhail KOZLOVSKIY LADA Sport LADA Granta 1.6T 20 1:19.401 1.851

Complete session results

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