Norbert Michelisz sets the pace in fog-disrupted first practice

Norbert Michelisz sets the pace in fog-disrupted first practice

WTCC practice
Photo: Francois Flamand / DPPI

Honda’s Norbert Michelisz set the pace in a heavily disrupted first World Touring Car Championship practice session at the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo in Argentina, which was delayed and then ended prematurely due to the visibility issues.

The session was initially delayed by 45 minutes due to the early morning fog at the circuit, before eventually getting underway at 09:15 local time.

A first red flag stoppage lasting for seven minutes was caused when Zengő Motorsport newcomer Zsolt Szabó stopped on the circuit before most of the field had posted any meaningful times. Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff had just moments earlier laid down the benchmark with a time of 1 minute 46.066 seconds.

When the session resumed it was then Honda’s Michelisz who went quickest, putting in a lap of 1 minute 44.170 seconds to take the top time.

Championship leader Tiago Monteiro was second fastest, just under half a second back, with Nicky Catsburg the leading Polestar Volvo driver in third.

Mehdi Bennani was the first of the Citroën racers in fourth, ahead of Polestar’s Néstor Girolami in fifth, who was the only other driver to be within a second of the pace.

There was around 17 minutes of running before the red flags flew for a second time due to fog once again descending onto the circuit, with the officials taking the decision not to restart the session, which was originally planned to run for 45 minutes.

Second practice is scheduled to take place at 10:50 local time (14:50 BST, 15:50 CEST).

Session results

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 5 Norbert MICHELISZ Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 6 1:44.170 0.000
2 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 7 1:44.598 0.428
3 63 Nicky CATSBURG Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 5 1:44.670 0.500
4 25 Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 6 1:45.014 0.844
5 61 Néstor GIROLAMI Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 4 1:45.123 0.953
6 62 Thed BJÖRK Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 5 1:45.267 1.097
7 12 Rob HUFF ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 6 1:45.414 1.244
8 34 Ryo MICHIGAMI Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 7 1:45.856 1.686
9 3 Tom CHILTON Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 6 1:46.089 1.919
10 9 Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 4 1:46.424 2.254
11 86 Esteban GUERRIERI Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 4 1:46.487 2.317
12 27 John FILIPPI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 6 1:46.612 2.442
13 68 Yann EHRLACHER RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC 6 1:47.190 3.020
14 24 Kevin GLEASON RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC 7 1:47.731 3.561
15 99 Dániel NAGY Zengő Motorsport Kft Honda Civic WTCC 6 1:49.323 5.153
16 66 Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ Zengő Motorsport Kft Honda Civic WTCC 1 No time  N/A