PRACTICE 1 - JORG MÃœLLER BEGINS HOSTILITIES In the first practice session of the season Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany) posted the fastest time of 2:00.787 in his BMW 320si. The field was closely packed behind him however, with the top 12 times...
PRACTICE 1 - JORG MÜLLER BEGINS HOSTILITIES
In the first practice session of the season Jorg Muller (BMW Team Germany) posted the fastest time of 2:00.787 in his BMW 320si. The field was closely packed behind him however, with the top 12 times being within 1 second.
Salvatore Tavano set the second fastest lap at the wheel of his N.technology Alfa Romeo 156 while the top three were completed by a SEAT Leon, driven by Briton James Thompson. Behind was his team-mate Yvan Muller, 0.512 of a second off the pace, while Rickard Rydell posted the 6th best time.
Reigning champion, Andy Priaulx set the 5 th best lap.
The fastest of the Chevrolet team of three was Robert Huff, 15th overall. Nicola Larini did not take part in the session due to an exhaust problem.
In the Independents' category it was Tom Coronel who completed the best lap of 2:01.751 to place him 12th overall. He was closely followed by Emanuele Naspetti who was 13th quickest.
PRACTICE 2 ANDY PRIAULX IS THE FASTEST
Andy Priaulx was the hottest of the field in the second free practice session for more than one reason. He set the fastest lap of 2:01.367 but suddenly stopped on the track after the chequered flag when a short circuit caused a fire inside his car.
Yvan Muller and Rickard Rydell ensured SEAT's presence in the top times by setting the 2nd and 4th quickest laps overall. They were 0.170 and 0.296 seconds behind Priaulx respectively.
However Alfa Romeo's Augusto Farfus managed to squeeze between them in third position with a lap in 2:01.653. While Alessandro Zanardi set the 5th fastest time, 0.344 off the pace.
Nicola Larini was out on the track after missing the earlier session and headed the Chevrolet team with a time of 2:01.759 securing the 7th position overall.
Tom Coronel once again set the best lap time of the independent competitors despite joining the session with just 9 minutes remaining.
The session was even closer than the first one, with 19 drivers covered by only one second.
PRIAULX STEALS POLE FROM YVAN MULLER
The reigning World Touring Car champion will begin the new season from pole position. Andy Priaulx (BMW Team UK), with a lap of 2:00.254 secured prime position on the grid with just two minutes left on the clock. Alongside him on the front row will be Yvan Muller for SEAT Sport who had posted a time 0.106 seconds slower off the pace in the early stages of the session.
The third best time of 2:00.561 was set by Augusto Farfus in his N.technology Alfa Romeo 156 with just 19 thousandths of a second denying him a spot alongside Priaulx on the front row.
Alessandro Zanardi (BMW Team Italy-Spain) emerged as the fastest of the Italian drivers, setting the 5th fastest lap in 2:00.751, immediately behind Dirk Muller (BMW Team Germany) 2:00.561.
The best result from the Chevrolet men was 16th position set by Robert Huff. Nicola Larini will line up in 17th while Alain Menu achieved the 19th best time.
Emanuele Naspetti (GDL Racing BMW 320i) and Tom Coronel (GR Asia SEAT Toledo) had a battle to be the best independent. It was the former Italian Supertouring champion who eventually set the best time out of the two securing 14th position. There is no room for complacency however as the Dutchman's time of 2:01.206 places him 15th.
In fact, the top fifteen times out of the 35-car field were all within 9 tenths of a second indicating the potential for two breathtaking opening races for the 2006 season.
Peter Terting of SEAT Sport qualified on the last spot, due to an engine failure that stopped him during his first flying lap.