Gabriele Tarquini kicked off the Belgian weekend in style setting the fastest lap in today’s 30-minute test. With ten minutes left on the clock, the Italian driver in his SEAT León Tdi posted a 1:39.848, which he improved to 1:39.726 in the dying moments of the session.
Chevrolet man Alain Menu emerged as the second fastest with a lap of 1:39.765, the only other driver to go under the 1:40. Mark.
Current championship leader Rob Huff placed third (1:40.050) just ahead of Tom Coronel (1:40.132) and Yvan Muller (1:40.308).
The SUNRED duo of Michel Nykjær and Fredy Barth were timed at 1:40.520 and 1:40.694 respectively to be classified sixth and seventh, best of the Yokohama Trophy competitors.
The Volvo C30 of Robert Dahlgren set the 10th fastest lap of 1:41.018.
The session was disrupted once by the red flag after 17 minutes, when Aleksey Dudukalo’s SEAT crashed into the tyre-wall at the Villeneuve chicane.
During the last minute Marchy Lee stopped his BMW car at Turn 2 because of a throttle failure, and the session was red-flagged for good.
A few drivers received warnings for not respecting the track limits and Kristian Poulsen had one of his fastest laps disallowed for straight-cutting a chicane.
Gabriele Tarquini’s SEAT set the fastest lap in today’s test at Zolder
THE WORD TO. GABRIELE TARQUINI
"I admit I was surprised by the lap time, taking into account that now there are tyres in the second chicane while last year there was none. On the other hand I have to say that track and weather conditions were nearly ideal, though a little bit too warm for our turbodiesel engine.
I went for a set of fresh tyres on my last stint and made good use of them. At the end of a test session you never know what the others did, which tyres they used, how much boost they gave. Therefore we must remain very cautious in evaluating this result.
But indeed it was a good start!"
WTCC AND INFINEON RACEWAY PLAN EVENT FOR 2012
The FIA World Touring Car Championship and Infineon Raceway have tentatively reached an agreement that would bring the world championship to the Sonoma Valley in September 2012.
"Bringing the championship to USA was the next item in our agenda and the last one to fulfill our aim for a really global calendar," said WTCC promoter Marcello Lotti. "So far we had worked to establish our European and South American events, reinforce our presence in Asia and return to Morocco. Now we feel that the time has come to expand to the US market that is a priority for our manufacturers and stakeholders. Infineon Raceway is a modern racetrack with impressive facilities, and I believe it is the ideal location to host a WTCC event. I am very satisfied of the meeting we had with Steve Page that enabled us to find an agreement for submitting to the FIA the proposal to enter the WTCC Race of US in the 2012 calendar."
Steve Page, president and general manager at Infineon Raceway, is excited at hosting the first-ever WTCC event in the United States. He met with Lotti earlier this week in Sonoma.
"The WTCC offers the kind of door-to-door hard-fought competition that American racing fans really respond to and we’re very excited about the opportunity to introduce this series to the North American continent," said Page. "The Infineon Raceway road course is an ideal circuit for these cars and we look forward to introducing Sonoma-style racing to a world-wide audience."
Infineon Raceway at Sonoma is due to host WTCC in 2012