Honda’s Norbert Michelisz emerged as the fastest driver in free practice for the World Touring Car Championship on the streets of Macau, edging out a Citroën quartet headed by Macau master Rob Huff.
In the first practice session of the weekend, Michelisz lapped the street circuit with a time of 2 minutes 27.802 seconds, the only driver to drop into the 2:27s, leaving him eight tenths shy of the lap record.
That lap record is help by the man in second, eight-time Guia race winner Rob Huff in his compensation weight-free Citroën. The Brit ended the session 0.352 seconds slower than the pace-setting Hungarian.
Next up was a trio of Sébastien Loeb Racing C-Elysées headed by Brit Tom Chilton in third, ahead of team-mates Mehdi Bennani and Ma Qing Hua. Bennani’s session ended in dramatic fashion when the Moroccan hit the barriers on the run down to the Melco hairpin late on.
Chinese racer Ma is making his first WTCC appearance in almost two years in a fourth SLR car and ended up just over two seconds off the pace.
Néstor Girolami was the leading Polestar Volvo driver in sixth, ahead of factory Honda duo Ryo Michigami in seventh and Esteban Guerrieri in eighth.
Nicky Catsburg, who is the only one of the three Volvo drivers to have previous experience of the circuit, was ninth, ahead of team-mate Thed Björk in tenth.
ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel was the leading Chevrolet driver in 11th, ahead of the fifth Citroën of John Filippi in 12th, the Frenchman being almost four seconds off the pace.
Yann Ehrlacher was the leading LADA driver in 13th on his first visit to Macau, ahead of team-mate Kevin Gleason in 14th.
There was no time for the second Zengő car of Dániel Nagy, who stopped on track before any drivers had posted a time early in the session. Campos Racing’s one-off driver, Kin-Pong Clerebold Chan, failed to take to the circuit in the team’s second Chevrolet.
Second practice is scheduled to take place at 09:15 CST (01:15 GMT) on Friday, followed by qualifying at 13:25 CST (05:25 GMT).
|1||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||11||2:27.802||0.000|
|2||12||Rob HUFF||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||13||2:28.154||0.352|
|3||3||Tom CHILTON||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||12||2:28.745||0.943|
|4||25||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||11||2:29.039||1.237|
|5||30||MA Qing Hua||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||11||2:29.826||2.024|
|6||61||Néstor GIROLAMI||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||12||2:29.929||2.127|
|7||34||Ryo MICHIGAMI||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||12||2:30.000||2.198|
|8||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||13||2:30.011||2.209|
|9||63||Nicky CATSBURG||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||13||2:30.084||2.282|
|10||62||Thed BJÖRK||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||14||2:30.420||2.618|
|11||9||Tom CORONEL||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||13||2:31.442||3.640|
|12||27||John FILIPPI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||13||2:31.603||3.801|
|13||68||Yann EHRLACHER||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||14||2:32.078||4.276|
|14||24||Kevin GLEASON||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||12||2:32.928||5.126|
|15||66||Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ||Zengő Motorsport Kft||Honda Civic WTCC||9||2:36.628||8.826|
|16||4||MAK Ka Lok||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||11||2:38.501||10.699|
|17||44||Po Wah WONG||Campos Racing||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||9||2:53.766||25.964|
|18||99||Dániel NAGY||Zengő Motorsport Kft||Honda Civic WTCC||0||No time||N/A|
|19||88||Kin-Pong Clerebold CHAN||Campos Racing||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||0||No time||N/A|