Silverstone: Saturday practice, qualifying notes

ROUNDS 5 & 6 PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING Weather: sunny with a cold wind and a dry track. PRESIDENT MOSLEY'S VISIT TO SILVERSTONE FIA President, Max Mosley, paid a visit to Silverstone today. Angelo Codignoni, president of Eurosport, and KSO top...

ROUNDS 5 & 6
PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING

Weather: sunny with a cold wind and a dry track.

PRESIDENT MOSLEY'S VISIT TO SILVERSTONE

FIA President, Max Mosley, paid a visit to Silverstone today. Angelo Codignoni, president of Eurosport, and KSO top managers Jacques Behar and Marcello Lotti (promoters of the FIA WTCC) escorted him for a stroll in the paddock and the pit lane.

Mr. Mosley commented: "I am extremely impressed by the show. The paddock is very well organised, everything has a professional look. Both championships are healthy, and the World Touring Car Championship is growing up especially well. The cars are beautiful, very well prepared, and represent important Manufacturers. It really gives credit to the FIA. I think that the concept of having two different FIA Championships in the same meeting is a very good combination. Two different kinds of cars, two different kinds of races. It works better and better each year. People like it."

PRACTICE 1 PLATO IS FASTEST

Jason Plato's first appearance in the FIA WTCC saw him top for the first free practice session. Plato used his experience of the track to post his best time 1:26.794, an unofficial new lap record for S2000 touring cars.

The Touring Car Bureau's decision to change the weight scale resulted in six front-wheel drive cars at the top of the time sheet, with former BTCC champions, James Thompson and Gabriele Tarquini second and third fastest in their Alfa Romeo cars. The best performance of a BMW was 7th place from Dirk Muller, with Jorg Muller and Andy Priaulx occupying 8th and 9th spots respectively. Carl Rosenblad was the best of the Independents with the 12th best time overall.

PRACTICE 2 ALFA AND GIOVANARDI ON TOP

Alfa Romeo had the two fastest cars in a session that was red-flagged for six minutes while the track was cleared of gravel, following Gabriele Tarquini's spin at Brooklands.

Fabrizio Giovanardi posted the quickest time (1:26.862), with fellow Alfa Romeo driver Augusto Farfus in second. Tarquini did not seriously damage his car during the spin and went on to post the fourth best time. Plato was again the fastest of the SEAT team with the third best time of the field.

Two of the Chevrolet drivers featured in the top ten - Rob Huff with ninth overall and Nicola Larini just 0.002 of a second behind. Their fastest laps were only 7 tenths from Giovanardi's. Andy Priaulx improved one place from the morning session to set the eighth best time, top of the BMWs. GR Asia's Valle Makela was the fastest Independent competitor, claiming 13th spot overall.

QUALIFYING ALFA ROMEO TRIO DOMINATE

When the FIA WTCC cars line up on the Silverstone starting grid for round five of the championship tomorrow, it will be an Alfa Romeo 1-2-3. In an incredibly exciting qualifying session it was Gabriele Tarquini who set the fastest lap time, an amazing 1:25.639 which is a new lap record for S2000 touring cars. The field was so close that only 0.9 seconds separated the top twelve drivers.

Fellow Alfa man, James Thompson was leading the field for some of the session but had to take 2nd as his time was 0.016 seconds off the best. Fabrizio Giovanardi completed the trio to begin from third on the grid tomorrow. Right behind him will be the BMW of Andy Priaulx who put in a remarkable performance to secure fourth place considering that his car is carrying 50kg of ballast.

Championship leader Dirk Muller spun at Abbey and had to be removed from the gravel, meaning he was not allowed to rejoin due to receiving external aid. All four of the SEAT cars were among the top ten positions. Young German, Peter Terting headed the team in fifth place with Plato, Rydell and Gene completing the 7th, 8th and 10th quickest laps.

Chevrolet will be hoping to obtain their first top-ten finish of the championship by capitalising on Menu's starting position of 15th with Nicola Larini just behind him. Ford Hotfiel Sport continued their struggle to find the right set-up with Klenke qualifying 24th and Jager 25th.

Tom Coronel, of GR Asia qualified 13th - the best of the Independent drivers.

-fia-

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Fabrizio Giovanardi , Andy Priaulx , Dirk Müller , Tom Coronel , Jorg Muller , Carl Rosenblad , James Thompson , Augusto Farfus , Jason Plato , Valle Makela , Rob Huff , Gabriele Tarquini , Nicola Larini , Marcello Lotti