Local man Augusto Farfus posted the fastest lap during today's test as the 2010 WTCC season officially got underway at the Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba.
The Brazilian topped the timesheets in his BMW 320si at the halfway point, before the session was briefly halted when Stefano D'Aste lost the back end of his BMW 320si and ended beached in the gravel at turn four.
In the dying moments of the session, Farfus bettered his earlier time clocking a 1 minute 24.243 seconds to remain on top.
"I am happy. We took advantage of the red flag and pitted to make some changes to the car, which were very effective. It was a good feeling to drive around so quickly,” said Farfus. “Now I have set the pace I'm sure that from tomorrow the others will be closer but I wish to stay ahead if I can."
His BMW Team RBM team-mate Andy Priaulx (1:24.732), who had led the session at the start, ended in third.
Alain Menu meanwhile was the fastest of the Chevrolet men, driving his Cruze to the second quickest time with a lap of 1m 24.732s. Team-mates, Yvan Muller (1m 24.805s) and Rob Huff (1m 24.960s) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
"It was a session to get used to the track again,” Menu reflected. “For the time being we are competitive as I am four tenths slower than Farfus, who was very quick. The car has too much understeer in the tight corners, so we have something to work on. If we manage to solve this I think we will be looking good."
Reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini was quickest of the SEAT cars, posting a lap time of 1m 25.308s to end the day sixth. His SR-Sport team-mate Jordi Gené's session ended early though as he suffered problems with the steering box on his SEAT León TDI.
"I am quite satisfied,” said Tarquini. “We benefitted from our past experience and went out straightaway with the best set up for this track.
“The car was good from the very beginning so I am optimistic. I was really surprised by how much grip there was on the track. Last year we were struggling to find grip but now it's totally different."
Hungarian youngster Norbert Michelisz was the best of the newcomers, posting an impressive seventh fastest time (1m 25.625s) and placing himself ahead of experienced drivers like Tom Coronel and Tiago Monteiro.