WTCR of Italy - Berthon and Magnus on top at Vallelunga practice 1

WTCR of Italy - Berthon and Magnus on top at Vallelunga practice 1

23.07.2022: FIA WTCR Race of Italy Vallelunga Saturday, July 23rd 2022 NathanaŽl Berthon set the pace in the first free practice session at WTCR Race of Italy as the drivers got to grips with the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi on what is the WTCR Ė F


FIA WTCR Race of Italy
Vallelunga
Saturday, July 23rd 2022





Nathanaël Berthon set the pace in the first free practice session at WTCR Race of Italy as the drivers got to grips with the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi on what is the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup’s first visit to the circuit.



The Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport driver was fastest with a time of 1m15.284s around the 3.2-kilometre track, to end up just 0.059s ahead of fellow Goodyear-equipped Audi RS 3 LMS ace Gilles Magnus. The top 13 were separated by less than a second.



“It’s just practice, maybe the others are hiding a bit, so we have to be careful,” said Berthon. “We are doing our job to prepare for the races. It’s always good to top the sheets. It’s getting warmer and warmer, the track is quite grippy. It’s just very short. Maybe it would be better to have the full track, but it’s all good.



“We changed a few things since yesterday’s test so it was good to have that session yesterday, so we could analyse in the right way. I’m pretty happy because we went in a good way compared to yesterday.”



ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami was third fastest in his Honda Civic Type R TCR, ahead of Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Mehdi Bennani. Norbert Michelisz was fifth in his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Elantra N TCR, ahead of team-mate and Goodyear #Followtheleader Mikel Azcona.



Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Attila Tassi was seventh in the times in his Honda, with team-mate Tiago Monteiro next up despite a grassy moment towards the end of the session. Tom Coronel was ninth fastest in his Audi.



The 45-minute session was interrupted by a red flag with seven minutes left on the clock when Yvan Muller’s Lynk & Co ran off at high speed into the gravel trap at Turn 2. Muller, who had already run wide at the corner earlier in the session, slewed sideways in the gravel and nudged the barrier side-on. Damage to his car’s front tyres was visible following the incident.



Rob Huff rounded out the top 10 in his Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición, despite suffering tyre damage after running off at Turn 9 in the final moments. “There was a lot of dust and dirt on the track,” he said. “We managed some good laps in the middle of the session and were getting the car better from yesterday. We saw Yvan go off and everyone was pushing like crazy through Turns 8 and 9. I just touched a kerb at Turn 9.”



Ma Qing Hua was the best of the Lynk & Co 03 TCRs in P11, ahead of Esteban Guerrieri’s Honda, King of WTCR Yann Ehrlacher, Santiago Urrutia, Thed Björk and Muller.



Free Practice 2 at WTCR Race of Italy is due to take place at 12h15 local time.



Richard Rodgers, photo WTCR


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23.07.2022 / MaP

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