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Norbert Michelisz tops eventful Free Practice 1

Norbert Michelisz went fastest in an eventful World Touring Car Championship Free Practice 1 on the Nürburgring Nordschleife that saw the Honda driver end with a puncture and RC Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher end in the barriers.

Continuing on a gloriously sunny day as per the morning test session, drivers took on the 170-turn Nordschleife in the ideal conditions.

The early pace setter was Polestar’s Nicky Catsburg, who set the benchmark with a lap of 8 minutes 47.034 seconds which stood for the first half an hour of the session.

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But it was Hungarian Michelisz who then set the fastest lap in the second part of the hour-long session, which WTCC competitors shared with their European Touring Car Championship counterparts.

Michelisz’s time was an 8 minute 43.255 seconds lap, which proved to be exactly two seconds slower than the benchmark set by Rob Huff earlier in the day.

After posting the fastest time, Michelisz then had a huge moment heading into the high-speed Tiergarten section as he suffered a puncture on his Civic under braking, pitching him off the circuit and narrowly missing the barriers at a notorious accident black spot on the circuit.

Michelisz’s time was good enough to keep him top of the times for the remaining five minutes of the session, as the morning’s early pace-setter, Münnich Motorsport’s Huff, was second fastest, 0.819 seconds adrift.

The next fastest car was Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Tom Chilton in third, just over two seconds off the pace, ahead of the Volvo of Nicky Catsburg in fourth, with the time he posted early on.

ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel went fifth fastest in the closing seconds of the session with a lap that featured several slides and the Dutchman complaining of visibility in the low early evening sun.

RC Motorsport driver Yann Ehrlacher was one of the biggest casualties of the weekend so far when after 13 minutes his LADA went off the circuit on his first flying lap and hard into the barriers at Brünnchen in Sector 4.

The Frenchman left his car with a limp, but the accident brought out the yellow flags and prevented lap time improvements for several drivers for at least ten minutes.

Also failing to post a time, despite completing four laps, was Polestar’s Thed Björk.

Second practice takes place at 07:15 BST (08:15 CEST) on Friday, followed by qualifying at 11:45 BST (12:45 CEST).

Session results

1 5 Norbert MICHELISZ Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 2 8:43.255 0.000
2 12 Rob HUFF ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 3 8:44.074 0.819
3 3 Tom CHILTON Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 4 8:45.592 2.337
4 63 Nicky CATSBURG Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 3 8:47.034 3.779
5 9 Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 4 8:47.567 4.312
6 25 Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 4 8:47.711 4.456
7 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 3 8:48.588 5.333
8 61 Néstor GIROLAMI Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 3 8:48.771 5.516
9 86 Esteban GUERRIERI Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 3 8:51.049 7.794
10 34 Ryo MICHIGAMI Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 3 8:52.505 9.250
11 27 John FILIPPI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 4 8:54.928 11.673
12 24 Kevin GLEASON RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC 4 8:55.091 11.836
13 8 Aurélien PANIS Zengő Motorsport Kft Honda Civic WTCC 4 9:01.504 18.249
14 99 Dániel NAGY Zengő Motorsport Kft Honda Civic WTCC 3 9:05.417 22.162
15 68 Yann EHRLACHER RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC 0 No time  N/A
16 62 Thed BJÖRK Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 4 No time  N/A
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