FIA WTCR / Oscaro

WTCR MACAU Free Practice 1 - Highlights

Jean-Karl Vernay set a scorching pace in the first free practice session at WTCR Race of Macau as the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO kicked off its 2018 season showdown weekend on the fabulous Circuito da Guia. Frenchman Vernay topped the times for most of the 30-minute session, then improved again on his final lap to set a mark of 2m31.328s around the 6.12-kilometre street circuit. The time broke Rob Huff’s record in a TCR car, set in 2015, by 0.2s. The Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team driver found himself in a title battle for fastest time with ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri for most of the session, but that final effort gave him clear air to the Honda Civic Type R TCR by 1.158s. “It’s a good start,” said Vernay. “We didn’t know where we were going to be with the 60 kilos weight but the car looks pretty good, we can still improve it a little bit. For sure the first sector helped us quite a lot, but it’s a good start so let’s keep pushing. Today doesn’t count, what will be important is tomorrow. Let’s keep working.” ‘King of Macau’ Huff was third fastest in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, ahead of Yvan Muller in his YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR. The French legend begins the weekend second in the WTCR OSCARO standings, 39 points down on leader Gabriele Tarquini who was only P12 in this session in his BRC Racing Team Hyundai. Tarquini’s BRC team-mate Norbert Michelisz was fifth fastest from ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher and the other YMR Hyundai of Thed Björk. Mehdi Bennani was next in his Golf ahead of Pepe Oriola’s Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra TCR, while Comtoyou Racing’s Aurélien Panis completed the top 10 in his Audi RS 3 LMS. Timo Scheider was next up in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda, with Tarquini the slowest of the seven drivers in contention for the WTCR OSCARO crown this weekend. Of the ‘wild card’ entries in Macau, Teamwork Motorsport’s Kevin Tse was the best in this session, his Audi RS 3 LMS setting a time good enough for P23 out of the bumper 31-car entry. Champ Motorsport’s Filipe Souza was P25 in his Audi, just ahead of former Macau Grand Prix winner André Couto for the MacPro Racing Honda team.