Augusto Farfus left it late in the session to post the quickest time in pre-event testing for the final rounds of the World Touring Car Championship on the streets of Macau.

The BMW Team Germany driver posted a time of 2min 33.624secs in the dying seconds of the session which allowed him to edge out the N.Technology Honda Accord of James Thompson and Nicola Larini's Chevrolet Lacetti. The top three on the times were split by just 0.169secs, with Felix Porteiro in fourth also less than two tenths of a second off top spot.

The session had barely started before it was red-flagged after Jaap van Lagen went off at R Bend on his out lap in the Russian Bears Motorsport LADA 110. Once the cars were back on track, title hopeful Yvan Muller went quickest with a lap of 2min 35.117secs which remained the time to beat until the mid-way point of the session when times started to tumble.

The quickest time then improved no fewer than seven times with Porteiro going quickest in his BMW, but he was then demoted back to fourth as Farfus, Thompson and Larini all went quicker in the final 60 seconds.

"The first laps in Macau are always very tricky," Farfus admitted. "Therefore no one is really pushing. It was the same for me. I drove very carefully today, because this track doesn't forgive any mistake. However, I have to say that I'm happy with the way we have begun the weekend.

"The car looks good and is well balanced; we have started at a reasonable level. But for sure the others will catch up soon. Let's wait until tomorrow morning. After the two practice sessions we will have a better idea of how qualifying will be."

Behind the top four, Alain Menu was fifth for Chevrolet, with team-mate Rob Huff sixth and title rivals Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini seventh and eighth.

In the Independents', champion elect Sergio Hernandez was quickest in 16th overall, a tenth of a second clear of fellow BMW driver Franz Engstler. Takayuki Aoki was third fastest.

Despite the FIA Touring Car Bureau rejected the team's entry, the RPM Racing Team was given permission to take part in the test session with drivers Joseph Meszei and Lei Kit Meng.

Meszei was 24th quickest at the wheel of his Honda Civic with Meng 27th in his Toyota Altezza but both cars will now be subject to checks from FIA scrutineers before a decision is taken on whether or not they can take part in the event.



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