Jean-Karl Vernay sets the pace in opening practice at Sakhir

Jean-Karl Vernay has topped the opening practice session ahead of this weekend’s TCR International Series races in Sakhir, posting a fastest time of 2:13.565 in the Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi.

James Nash led the session earlier in the Lukoil Craft-Bamboo SEAT Leon, but his 2:13.819 was deposed by Vernay late in the session before the Brit stopped out on circuit with a suspected broken driveshaft.

Dusan Borkovic clocked the third fastest time, another three tenths adrift of the pair.

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“Last year I was really quick here, but the car wasn’t really ready to perform,” admitted Vernay.

“The weekend is going to be tough, although I like this warm weather.

“We need to think about a lot of things; tyre degradation, we need to set up the car for the race and also set up the car for Quaifying.

“It’s just like when I arrived in Singapore last year – I didn’t know the track but I was quicker than the other guys. It’s the same here; I don’t think I’m over-driving but the lap time was really good. We need to score more points here than last year here, but my team is incredible and I’m really confident.”

There were on track incidents for Mat O’Homola and the returning Michela Cerruti, the latter after spinning under heavy braking at turn one and brushing the armco barrier.

Reigning champion Stefano Comini could only manage tenth in his Audi RS3 after complaining about the handling.

Second practice will begin at 15:55 local time.

Session results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 2 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 7 2:13.565 0.000
2 54 James NASH Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 6 2:13.819 0.254
3 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 8 2:14.137 0.572
4 16 Davit KAJAIA GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 8 2:14.287 0.722
5 74 Pepe ORIOLA Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 8 2:14.341 0.776
6 5 Roberto COLCIAGO M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 9 2:14.367 0.802
7 9 Attila TASSI M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 8 2:14.535 0.970
8 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 8 2:14.545 0.980
9 55 Ferenc FICZA Zele Racing SEAT León TCR 8 2:14.718 1.153
10 1 Stefano COMINI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 8 2:14.734 1.169
11 70 Mat’o HOMOLA DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 5 2:14.839 1.274
12 23 Pierre-Yves CORTHALS DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 8 2:14.925 1.360
13 7 Hugo VALENTE Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 9 2:14.934 1.369
14 88 Michela CERRUTI GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 5 2:15.178 1.613
15 21 Giacomo ALTOÈ West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 9 2:16.007 2.442
16 18 Duncan ENDE Icarus Motorsports SEAT León TCR 8 2:18.115 4.550
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