Augusto Farfus topped the timesheet of today’s thirty minute private testing session. As the field had chance to re-familiarise themselves with the Porto track, the BMW Team Germany man completed a lap in 2:10.161 on his final attempt.
There was a surge of fast final laps with Chevrolet’s Robert Huff (2:10.590) and Alain Menu (2:10.840) posting the second and third best times. Despite a spell as the fastest Nicola Larini, in his Chevrolet Cruze, was eventually sixth quickest overall. Gabriele Tarquini was the fastest man in a SEAT sport car as he clocked a 2:10.886 with five minutes of the session left. His team-mate and local man Tiago Monteiro achieved the fifth best time (2:11.092). BMW duo Jörg Müller and Andy Priaulx were seventh and eighth fastest followed by a pair of SEATs in the form of Rickard Rydell and Jordi Gené.
Tom Coronel and Stefano D’Aste were the leaders of the Independent category. D’Aste was 12th fastest overall with a time of 2:12.099 but Coronel went three tenths of a second better to claim 11th spot. However the Dutchman went straight on at turn 8 towards the end of the session and did not rejoin. James Thompson had gearbox troubles with his new LADA Priora which meant he had to return to the pits after just one lap. His team-mates van Lagen and Ladygin were 15th and 21st respectively in the old 110 cars.
Augusto Farfus set the fastest time in today’s testing at Porto
THE MAYOR OF PORTO VISITS THE PADDOCK
While the WTCC teams were getting ready for this weekend’s event, yesterday afternoon Porto’s Mayor Mr Rui Rio paid an official visit to the paddock of the Circuito da Boavista.
The Mayor was welcomed by WTCC promoter Marcello Lotti, the event promoter Vitor Ferreira of PA Leading, representatives of the Portuguese National Sporting Authority FPAK and local driver Tiago Monteiro.
After posing for the cameras of the local media inside the FIA hospitality, Lotti and Monteiro escorted the Mayor and press representatives along the pit lane to visit the teams‘ stands. Mr Rui was especially impressed when Monteiro showed him his SEAT racing cars.
LADA PRESENT NEW CAR AND DRIVER
The LADA Sport team held a press conference in the paddock today to unveil a new car and new driver. James Thompson will take to the wheel of the LADA PRIORA at Porto for its inaugural outing.
Alexey Sorokin Marketing Director for LADA Avtovaz commented : "From the very beginning of this season we have been working on the car. Each race helped us gather all the necessary information for our engineers. We hope our team will take a step forward."
WTCC APPOINTS PERMANENT SAFETY CAR DRIVER
Bruno Correia has been appointed as permanent safety car driver for the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Correia, 32-years old from the Algarve region in Portugal, boasts a successful racing CV that includes titles in the Portuguese Formula Ford Championship (1994) and the Spanish Formula Renault 2000 Championship (1996). He also spent seasons in the Americas, taking part in the USA’s Formula Dodge Barber Pro-Series and becoming vice-champion in the Brazilian Superturismos. Last year he started acting as safety car driver for the Club ACDME at the Estoril and Algarve racetracks.
Correia was successfully tested during the WTCC event in Brno, where he performed a number of interventions in WTCC, F2 and the support races.
DOUBLE EUROPEAN CHAMPION JOINS WTCC
Michel Nykjær, double winner of the FIA European Touring Car Cup, will make his maiden WTCC appearance in Oschersleben.
"I can hardly believe that I will participate in a WTCC event. These are the guys that I watch on Eurosport and now I have the chance to test myself against them," said Nykjær, who won the 2007 ETCC at Adria driving a SEAT León and encored last year at the Austrian Salzburgring in a Chevrolet Lacetti.
"Our goal is to compete with the best independents and we hope that the races in Oschersleben may propel our team towards a full WTCC campaign," team manager Kent Bo Steffensen stated.
Chevrolet Motorsport Denmark’s priority for the current season remains the Danish Touring Car Championship in which their drivers Michel Nykjær and Henrik Lundgaard are currently placed second and third behind James Thompson.