WTCR Free Practice 1 flash: Michelisz fastest from Muller
Norbert Michelisz ended up on top after swapping fastest times with Yvan Muller in Free Practice 1 at WTCR Race of Macau.
The BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver set the pace early in the 45-minute session in his Hyundai i30 N TCR, then improved his mark, only for Muller to beat it in the final 10 minutes. But Michelisz had an answer to the Lynk & Co’s pace by setting a time of 2m30.460s in the final minutes to jump back to the top. His time was just 0.139s quicker than Muller’s around the 6.12-kilometre Circuito da Guia.
Just one second separated the top 10 around the demanding street circuit, with Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport’s Jean-Karl Vernay third fastest in his Audi RS 3 LMS. He was just ahead of SLR VW Motorsport’s Rob Huff, who is bidding for his 10th Macau race victory this weekend.
Cyan Performance Lynk & Co’s Yann Ehrlacher was fifth fastest ahead of Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing’s Tom Coronel, who was enjoying a welcome upturn in form in his CUPRA TCR. Cyan Performance Lynk & Co’s Andy Priaulx was seventh, with Nicky Catsburg, PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona and Mehdi Bennani rounding out the top 10. Azcona was the leading Macau rookie, despite a gearbox problem nearing the end the session, which is set to result in a replacement unit being fitted for Free Practice 2.
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO newcomer Robert Dahlgren performed well on his maiden session in the series. The Swede ended up in P13 in his PWR Racing Cupra TCR, while German Luca Engstler was P21 for BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team.
#RoadToMalaysia points leader Esteban Guerrieri was down in P23 in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR due to a loose engine mounting, while the best of the six wildcard entries racing in Macau this weekend was local hero Billy Lo (P27) in his Tian Shi Zuver Team Audi RS 3 LMS.
The session was briefly red flagged after 11 minutes when Gabriele Tarquini nosed his Hyundai into a barrier.
Free Practice 2 at WTCR Race of Macau takes place from 13h40 local time.