Gabriele Tarquini posted the quickest time during testing at Curitiba as the new World Touring Car Championship season got underway in Brazil.
The Italian left it late in the session to post the quickest time at the wheel of his SEAT Leon TDi, with a quick lap of 1min 25.497secs seeing him edge out local driver Augusto Farfus by just 0.057secs. Farfus himself had left it late to post his fastest time after edging ahead of fellow BMW Team Germany runner Jorg Muller by just 0.001secs,
“The team have done good job, because these were the cars' first laps after they were shipped from Europe,” Tarquini said. “It is nice to start from the top; however heat will be a major problem during the weekend, as we are already two seconds slower compared to last year.”
BMW enjoyed a strong session, with former champion Andy Priaulx slotting into fourth, ahead of a train of SEATs, led by the man carrying the #1 on his car this season, Yvan Muller. The Frenchman was followed on the times by team-mates Rickard Rydell, Tiago Monteiro and Jordi Gene, with Nicola Larini and Alain Meny rounding out the top-ten in the new Chevrolet Cruze. The quickest of the LADA Sport cars, in the hands of Jaap van Lagen, was 17th.
Former works BMW man Felix Porteiro was quickest of the Independent runners with the eleventh quickest time overall in his Proteam BMW, but two of his rivals suffered a frustrating start to the year with Tom Coronel stopping on track with an engine problem and Kristian Poulsen failing to make it out of the pits due to a fuel-pump failure.