Tiago Monteiro set the pace in another damp session for the World Touring Car Championship at Circuit Paul Ricard, with the Honda driver pipping Citroën’s José María López to the top time in the closing seconds of the session.
Monteiro had earlier on in the session hovered around the top time, including being fastest of all after ten minutes with an effort of 1:43.928.
The track continued to dry during the half-hour session, giving other including Monteiro’s former team-mate Gabriele Tarquini, and new team-mate Rob Huff, a chance at the top of the times.
López had not really featured at the top until the closing minutes, before Monteiro went quickest of all with a 1:42.565.
That left the Argentine 0.133 seconds behind as the best-placed Citroën, ahead of the independent C-Elysée of Grégoire Demoustier in third, who also improved late-on in the session.
New works Honda driver Norbert Michelisz was fourth fastest, ahead of the leading LADA of Gabriele Tarquini in fifth, who seemed to be relishing the changing conditions.
The third works Honda of Huff ended up sixth, despite the Brit having earlier had moments at the top of the times. As pace-setter Monteiro put it “Every lap is faster and faster and anyone who could take the chequered flag [last] would do a faster lap.”
Tom Chilton was seventh fastest, ahead of the LADA of Nicky Catsburg in eighth, with the Dutchman having also been an early pace-setter.
The second works Citroën of Yvan Muller was left languishing in ninth, with the Frenchman also being the last of the drivers to be within a second of the pace.
Polestar Cyan Racing continued to struggle with the conditions due to a lack of wet winter testing, leaving Fredrik Ekblom in tenth and his Volvo team-mate Thed Björk in 13th.
Zengő Motorsport managed limited running for Ferenc Ficza, after the team were granted an 11th-hour reprieve to run by the FIA, following the late delivery of their engines. The Hungarian managed the 15th best time.
Second practice takes place at 11:45 CEST (10:45 BST).
|1||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||14||1:42.565||0.000|
|2||37||José María LÓPEZ||Citroën Total WTCC||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||11||1:42.698||0.133|
|3||11||Y||Grégoire DEMOUSTIER||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||14||1:42.699||0.134|
|4||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||9||1:42.799||0.234|
|5||2||Gabriele TARQUINI||LADA Sport Rosneft||LADA Vesta WTCC||12||1:42.824||0.259|
|6||12||Rob HUFF||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||15||1:42.904||0.339|
|7||3||Y||Tom CHILTON||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||13||1:43.040||0.475|
|8||10||Nicky CATSBURG||LADA Sport Rosneft||LADA Vesta WTCC||14||1:43.213||0.648|
|9||68||Yvan MULLER||Citroën Total WTCC||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||10||1:43.321||0.756|
|10||61||Fredrik EKBLOM||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 WTCC||11||1:43.595||1.030|
|11||7||Hugo VALENTE||LADA Sport Rosneft||LADA Vesta WTCC||15||1:43.644||1.079|
|12||27||Y||John FILIPPI||Campos Racing||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||13||1:44.033||1.468|
|13||62||Thed BJÖRK||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 WTCC||12||1:44.217||1.652|
|14||25||Y||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||12||1:44.295||1.730|
|15||55||Y||Ferenc FICZA||Zengő Motorsport||Honda Civic WTCC||4||2:20.721||38.156|
|16||77||Y||René MÜNNICH||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||11||2:30.946||48.381|
|17||9||Y||Tom CORONEL||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||2||–||N/A|