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Jean-Karl Vernay sets the pace on the streets of Singapore

Leopard Racing duo Jean-Karl Vernay and Stefano Comini set the pace in first practice for the TCR International Series on the streets of Singapore, with Vernay just over a second clear of the entire field.

The Frenchman hit the top of the times with just under half of the session remaining, which took place in daylight conditions at the Formula One-supporting event.

“It’s a very positive first contact with this track, which I didn’t know, and I am even surprised of my result,” said Vernay after he dominated the session. “The track was very dirty, and I missed the track limits a couple of times when still exploring the circuit and learning it.

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“I checked Stefano’s lines to try to learn faster, and when I put on new tyres at the end, the lap times came. The feeling is good, and I always liked a lot street circuits, now we can start working on the set-up.”

Behind Comini was B3 Racing’s Dušan Borković in third, less than a tenth slower than the Volkswagen driver, whilst Mikhail Grachev was the leading Honda driver in fourth.

Craft-Bamboo Racing’s championship contender Pepe Oriola was fifth fastest, ahead of team-mate Sergey Afanasyev in sixth.

WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli was seventh quickest in his rebuilt Honda Civic, whilst Target Competition’s Loris Hezemans was the best of the single-event entrants this weekend, putting his SEAT in eighth, and being the last driver within two seconds of the pace.

Championship leader James Nash could only manage 11th fastest in his SEAT, just ahead of series returnee Kevin Gleason in 12th, and the Opel of Jordi Oriola in 13th, despite a problem with the hydraulic piping of the gearbox on his car.

Further back there were also positive first steps for the new FRD Motorsport-developed Ford Focus of Martin Cao Hongwei, who was 15th, with his team fine-tuning the setup during the half-hour session.

Petr Fulín was 17th quickest after an engine which was running on only three cylinders, leaving him down the order with the overheating Target Competition honda of Rafaël Galiana.

Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s second driver this weekend, Filipe Clemente de Souza, was the only driver not to post a competitive time due to electrical gremlins on the Volkswagen Golf GTi.

Qualifying takes place at 14:40 local time on Saturday (07:40 BST, 08:40 CEST).

Session results

1 2 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 14 2:25.570 0.000
2 1 Stefano COMINI Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 14 2:26.572 1.002
3 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 13 2:26.629 1.059
4 8 Mikhail GRACHEV West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 14 2:26.791 1.221
5 74 Pepe ORIOLA Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 11 2:26.817 1.247
6 77 Sergey AFANASYEV Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 13 2:27.008 1.438
7 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 10 2:27.070 1.500
8 50 Loris HEZEMANS Target Competition SEAT León Cup Racer 12 2:27.262 1.692
9 9 Attila TASSI B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 13 2:27.603 2.033
10 70 Mat’o HOMOLA B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 13 2:27.644 2.074
11 54 James NASH Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 14 2:28.127 2.557
12 24 Kevin GLEASON West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 15 2:29.094 3.524
13 33 Jordi ORIOLA Kissling Motorsport Opel Astra TCR 6 2:29.334 3.764
14 7 Davit KAJAIA Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 14 2:30.571 5.001
15 99 Martin CAO Hongwei FRD Racing Team Ford Focus TCR 9 2:30.922 5.352
16 35 Rafaël GALIANA Target Competition Honda Civic TCR 10 2:31.125 5.555
17 22 Petr FULÍN Mulsanne Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 6 2:33.113 7.543
18 64 Neric WEI Chaoyin Son Veng Racing Team Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 13 2:36.435 10.865
19 65 Douglas KHOO Kok Hui Viper Niza Racing SEAT León Cup Racer 14 2:38.328 12.758
20 68 Filipe Clemente DE SOUZA Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 3 No time N/A

Complete session results.

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