Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Pepe Oriola set the pace in first practice for the TCR International Series in Bahrain, ahead of WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli.
Oriola started the 2016 season as he left off in 2015, immediately proving himself as a front runner in his SEAT León TCR. The Spaniard ended up 0.413 seconds ahead of Morbidelli’s Honda on a slippery circuit.
Series newcomer Aku Pellinen was an impressive third fastest in his Honda, with the Finn being the only other driver to be within a second of Oriola’s pace.
Dušan Borković ended the session in fourth, with the Serbian racer making his first TCR appearance this weekend at the wheel of a B3 Racing SEAT. His team-mate Mat’o Homola was fifth fastest, tied on lap times with the Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT of Sergey Afanasyev.
Davit Kajaia was the leading Volkswagen racer, putting his Engstler Motorsport Golf GTI in seventh, ahead of fellow series débutant James Nash in eighth.
Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay and B3 Racing’s Attila Tassi completed the top ten.
The Subaru STi of Luigi Ferrara was 14th fastest, whilst the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Mulsanne Racing was 16th in the hands of Michela Cerruti.
The session was briefly red-flagged with ten minutes to go when Jordi Oriola’s Opel Astra stalled on track and eventually crawled back to the pits. The Spaniard ended the session in last.
|1||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL||SEAT León TCR||8||2:13.069||0.000|
|2||10||Gianni MORBIDELLI||West Coast Racing||Honda Civic TCR||7||2:13.482||0.413|
|3||14||Aku PELLINEN||West Coast Racing||Honda Civic TCR||8||2:13.824||0.755|
|4||62||Dušan BORKOVIĆ||B3 Racing Team Hungary||SEAT León TCR||9||2:14.101||1.032|
|5||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||B3 Racing Team Hungary||SEAT León TCR||9||2:14.424||1.355|
|6||77||Sergey AFANASYEV||Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL||SEAT León TCR||8||2:14.424||1.355|
|7||7||Davit KAJAIA||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||8||2:14.602||1.533|
|8||54||James NASH||Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL||SEAT León TCR||8||2:14.891||1.822|
|9||2||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||8||2:14.992||1.923|
|10||9||TASSI||B3 Racing Team Hungary||SEAT León TCR||8||2:15.085||2.016|
|11||24||Kevin GLEASON||West Coast Racing||Honda Civic TCR||4||2:15.430||2.361|
|12||8||Mikhail GRACHEV||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||8||2:15.549||2.480|
|13||1||Stefano Comini||Leopard Racing||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||6||2:16.284||3.215|
|14||32||Luigi FERRARA||Top Run Motorsport||Subaru Sti TCR||8||2:16.653||3.584|
|15||23||Andrea BELICCHI||Target Competition||Opel Astra TCR||5||2:17.252||4.183|
|16||88||Michela CERRUTI||Mulsanne Racing||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||9||2:18.678||5.609|
|17||78||Salman AL KHALIFA||Bas Koeten Racing||SEAT León Cup Racer||7||2:19.834||6.765|
|18||79||Hussain KARIMI||Bas Koeten Racing||SEAT León Cup Racer||10||2:24.338||11.269|
|19||33||Jordi ORIOLA||Target Competition||Opel Astra TCR||2||6:48.294||35.225|