Macau WTCC: Michelisz leads Huff in first practice

Honda driver Norbert Michelisz led the way in the first World Touring Car Championship practice session in Macau in preparation for Sunday's Guia race.

Championship hopeful Michelisz jumped to the top of the times with 15 minutes of the session gone, and sat more than a second clear of his rivals for much of the remaining half hour.

Rob Huff eventually got within four tenths of a second of the fastest time in his Munnich Motorsport Citroen after a raft of improvements in the final 15 minutes of the session, but could get no closer to the 2m27.802s lap recorded by Michelisz aboard his Honda.

Tom Chilton headed a Sebastien Loeb Racing 3-4-5 in his Citroen ahead of Mehdi Bennani and Ma Qing Hua, who is returning to the championship for the Macau special after two years away from the series.

Bennani had been Michelisz's closest rival early on but did not finish the session after clattering into the barriers on the approach to the Melco Hairpin with three minutes remaining, with his Citroen removed by a recovery crane before the end of the session.

Nestor Girolami was fastest of the Volvo contingent and topped a tight pack of cars from sixth to ninth, beating Michelisz's factory Honda team-mates Ryo Michigami and Esteban Guerrieri, who is deputising for the injured Tiago Monteiro for a second round in a row.

The Honda pair split Girolami from his teammates Nicky Catsburg and Thed Bjork, who completed the top 10 in their respective Volvo S60s.

Championship leader Bjork ended the session 2.618 seconds slower than chief title rival Michelisz.

Two drivers failed to set a time; Daniel Nagy brought the session to an early halt after stopping his Zengo Motorsport Honda in the first sector on his out lap, while Campos Racing's Kin-Pong Clerebold Chan did not take to the circuit.

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About this article
Series WTCC
Event Macau
Track Circuito da Guia
Drivers Norbert Michelisz
Article type Practice report