WTCR Free Practice 1 Flash: Huff on top on the Nordschleife
SLR VW Motorsport’s Rob Huff topped Free Practice 1 at WTCR Race of Germany, but was closely matched by WTCR / OSCARO leader Esteban Guerrieri.
BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver Norbert Michelisz was quickest after the opening round of laps, but the Hungarian was just 0.224 seconds faster than SLR Volkswagen’s Benjamin Leuchter around the 25.378-kilometre Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit.
SLR Volkswagen team-mate Johan Kristoffersson closed to within 0.090s of Michelisz’s benchmark, before Brit Huff set the pace in his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR with a lap time of 9m001.746s.
Hyundai-powered Michelisz narrowed Huff’s advantage out front with a 9m002.526s lap that put him 0.780s behind, and responded again with three minutes to go in the 40-minute session, registering a 9m001.522s that propelled him back up to first, 0.224s ahead of Huff.
But Huff wasn’t done, as he edged 1.811s clear to become the first man to get under the nine minute mark with an 8m059.711s.
“It means nothing in the sense of points, but it means a lot to us and the team to get P1, and with Benny and Johan in the top five with us, it’s what we need,” said Huff. “It puts a smile on my face, it’s nice to start the weekend like this, but there’s a lot of improvements to make for sure, but I’m sure everyone else has as well – and no one’s going full speed yet so let’s wait and see what happens, but to get two-three consistent laps in all with good times is pleasing.”
A late flurry of laps shuffled the order, as ALL INKL.com Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri was second fastest in his Honda Civic Type R TCR, 0.685s shy of Huff. Swede Kristoffersson set a 9m00.509s to slot in third.
Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport’s Jean-Karl Vernay was fourth fastest ahead of Leuchter and BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team’s Augusto Farfus who was sixth.
Michelisz slipped to seventh in the closing stages, 1.242s ahead of the Honda-powered Nestor Girolami.
Nicky Catsburg was concerned about the top speed of his Hyundai i30 N TCR, but was ninth fastest for BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team. Fellow Dutchman Niels Langeveld completed the top 10 for Comtoyou Team Audi Sport.
Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s Yvan Muller failed to register any laps with a gearbox issue. Cyan Performance Lynk & Co driver Andy Priaulx was also in trouble with a fuel pressure issue. The problem was rectified but as he was towed back to the pits he was not permitted to contest the rest of the session.
Double WTRC Race of Netherlands winner Thed Björk didn’t set a time either meaning three of the four Cyan Lynk & Co cars appeared competitively on the timing screens.
PWR Racing’s Daniel Haglöf was the only other driver not to register a time.
Free Practice 2 gets underway at 12h30.