PRACTICE 1 -- TARQUINI HEADS THE FIELD SR-Sport's Gabriele Tarquini was quickest in first practice this morning ahead of tomorrow's Race of Italy at Monza. The defending champion knocked BMW Team RBM's Andy Priaulx off the top spot at the half...
PRACTICE 1 -- TARQUINI HEADS THE FIELD
SR-Sport's Gabriele Tarquini was quickest in first practice this morning ahead of tomorrow's Race of Italy at Monza.
The defending champion knocked BMW Team RBM's Andy Priaulx off the top spot at the half way point setting a fastest time of 2:01.324 around the 5.793 kilometre Autodromo Nazionale.
It was a trio of manufacturers filling the top spots once again with Rob Huff improving in the final minutes to record the second fastest time of 2:01.480 in his Chevrolet Cruze. After leading to the half way point Priaulx (2:01.562) finished the session third.
Chevrolet's Yvan Muller (2:01.614) and SR-Sports's Jordi Gene (2:01.682) completed the top five while yesterday's quickest man, Augusto Farfus (2:01.706) was sixth in his BMW 320si.
Danish rookie Michel Nykjær (2:01.775) was seventh ahead of SR-Sport team mates Tom Coronel (2:01.844) and Tiago Monteiro (2:01.861).
After oil pressure problems yesterday, rookie Fredy Barth (2:01.980) rounded out the top ten in first practice today. Another Dane, Kristian Poulsen (2:02.020) was the top Independent finishing 11th overall in his BMW 320si.
After being quickest Independent in Friday's test, Stefano D'Aste did not complete a flying lap, stopping out on track at the first chicane with gearbox problems.
The session was very close, with 14 cars within the same second, though a number of times were disallowed due to drivers cutting chicanes.
PRACTICE 2 -- HUFF MAKES CHEVROLET HAPPY
Britain's Rob Huff put Chevrolet on top of the timesheets in Monza with a lap time of 2:01.685 during second practice ahead of Andy Priaulx (2:01.755) and Gabriele Tarquini (2:01.893).
After Farfus' BMW 320si in yesterday's test and Tarquini's SEAT Leon TDI in this morning's P1 had led a session apiece so far, Chevrolet claimed the top spot with most of the action happening in the final minutes of the session. After Chevrolet took the early advantage with Alain Menu, Tarquini responded to top the times but with three minutes left to run, Priaulx put in a great lap in his BMW 320si to demote the Italian to second.
As the seconds ticked down, Huff improved from fourth and held on to his advantage until the chequered flag to finish just 0.070-seconds ahead of the Guernsey driver. Menu (2:01.916) finished fourth ahead of Chevrolet team mate Yvan Muller (2:02.154).
Fredy Barth (2:02.211) impressed to finish sixth overall and top rookie ahead of Norbert Michelisz (2:02.302). BMW Team RBM's Augusto Farfus (2:02.334) ended eighth ahead of Tiago Monteiro (2:02.355) and Danish rookie Michel Nykjær (2:02.372).
Moroccan racer Mehdi Bennani was top of the Independents recording his quickest time of 2:02.602, before stopping on the track with technical problems.
Sergio Hernandez had a troubled session spending most the first half in the garage with drive-shaft problems. He rejoined the track only to have further problems with the clutch and differential.
Tom Coronel had engine problems with his SEAT Leon TDI so ended a disappointing last having not recorded a quick lap.