Tarquini paces opening test at Imola.

Championship hopeful Gabriele Tarquini set the fastest lap in Friday testing ahead of the World Touring Car Championship's return to Imola.

Following morning rain there were wet patches on the track, but this didn't stop the Italian setting a time nearly three seconds faster than the previous lap record. The record was easily smashed after the Variante Bassa was replaced by a right-handed bend, making it much faster and his time of 1min 55.564secs was a tenth of a second faster than his nearest rival, BMW Team Germany's Augusto Farfus.

Chevrolet's Alain Menu took third position, with the other BMW Team Germany car of Jörg Müller behind him in fourth. The next SEAT Sport car was in fifth with Yvan Muller at the wheel, ahead of Alessandro Zanardi and Andy Priaulx. Rickard Rydell rounded of the top eight positions for the first of the sessions on this new track. The eight fastest drivers were covered by only six tenths of a second.

Stefano D'Aste set the fastest time for the Independents' Trophy with a time of 1min 56.871secs, and he was a comfortable thirteenth overall. He did set the time early on in the session when several of the Independent cars set times ahead of their rivals; however, D'Aste had engine problems towards the end of the session.

One driver who appeared to struggle was Rob Huff in the Chevrolet. He could only manage seventeenth overall with a time nearly two seconds off the pace. Jordi Gené also had problems, his engine began to smoke very early on, forcing him to abandon the car on the side of the track.

New Russian Bears driver Kirill Ladygin had electronics problems which resulted in his LADA going back to the pits. His team-mate Jaap van Lagen did not leave the garage at all due to an oil leak.

Only three cars had incidents during the session: Jörg Müller brushed the tyres at the apex of turn 15, Sergio Hernández came off but rejoined at turn 20 at the beginning of the test, and Félix Porteiro did the same at turn 2 in the final minutes.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Gabriele Tarquini - SEAT Sport SEAT Leon TDI [pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Gabriele Tarquini, Lada, Moscow [Credit: WTCC media]
Gabriele Tarquini - LADA Vesta TC1
Nicky Catsburg - Lada Sport Vesta
Gabriele Tarquini - Lada Sport Vesta   [pic credit: FIA WTCC media/Alexandre Guillaumot]
Rob Huff (GBR), LADA Sport, WTCC [Credit: XPB]
Nick Catsburg (NED), Lada Sport, WTCC, [Credit: Lada Sport]
Japp van Lagen (NED), Lada Sport, WTCC [Credit: LADA Sport]
Gabriele Tarquini - Castrol Honda Civic [credit: FIA WTCC]
Gabriele Tarquini - Castrol Honda Civic [credit: FIA WTCC]
Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), Castrol Honda, WTCC [Credit: Castrol Honda PR]
Lada Vesta TC1 WTCC, testing, WTCC [Credit: Lada Sport]
James Thompson (GBR), LADA Sport, WTCC [Credit: LADA Sport]
James Thompson, Robert Huff, LADA Sport, WTCC [Credit: LADA Sport]
Lada Vesta TC1 WTCC [Credit: Lada Sport]
Rob Huff - LADA Sport [pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Rob Huff - LADA Sport [pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Rob Huff - LADA Sport [pic credit: FIA WTCC]

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swb6699 - Unregistered

September 21, 2008 6:52 AM

Sorry rich ard. Just being sarcastic. I don't agree to 2Ltr Turbo diesels going up against 2Ltr Petrol, especially after the way Seat manipulated the rules! :D

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