Chevrolet’s Yvan Muller set the pace in the first World Touring Car Championship practice session at the Curitiba Raceway in Brazil, lapping 0.303 seconds quicker than team-mate Rob Huff.
Frenchman Muller set a lap of 1:22.689 to move to the top of the timesheets around ten minutes in to the session. His team-mates Huff and Menu ensured that it was once again a Chevrolet 1-2-3, despite fourth-placed man Gabriele Tarquini briefly splitting the trio.
Tarquini was 0.639 seconds off Muller’s pace in fourth, whilst the two bamboo engineering independent Chevrolet’s of Michel Nykjær and Alex MacDowall ensured that all five Chevrolet’s were in the top six. Indeed at one stage in the session Chevrolet cars occupied the top five positions, before Tarquini separated the works and independent cars. MacDowall, in sixth, was the last driver within a second of the leading pace.
Norbert Michelisz was the top BMW driver in seventh, ahead of Darryl O’Young in his Special Tuning SEAT. Aleksei Dudukalo and Mehdi Bennani completed the top ten.
A difficult session for ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel saw the Dutchman only manage 13th fastest, having spun his BMW at the final corner.
New Honda signing for 2013 Tiago Monteiro was 14th, whilst the top Team Aon driver was James Nash in 16th, some 2.319 seconds off the pace.
Spaniard Fernando Monje, making his return to the WTCC following an appearance at the second meeting of the year in Valencia, was the slowest driver in the session, 3.888 seconds off the pace. Franz Engstler did not participate due to engine problems with his BMW.
The second free practice session takes place at 1115 UTC-3 local time (1515 GMT).