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May 5th, 2012
Lukoil Racing’s Gabriele Tarquini, second fastest in free practice 1, went one better in the final free practice session before qualifying at the Hungaroring.
The Italian veteran waited until his final lap to displace World Touring Car championship leader Yvan Muller from the top of the timesheets.
As in the earlier session, the margins were close. Tarquini’s lap of 1m55.287s edged out the RML Chevrolet driver by 0.026s.
Muller’s factory Cruze team-mate Rob Huff took third. Fresh from victory at the preceding Slovakia Ring reversed-grid race last week, Huff is Muller’s closest rival in the points race, lying 27 points adrift.
Hong Kong racer Darryl O’Young enjoyed one of his most promising showings of the season to take fourth. In his first season behind the wheel of Special Tuning’s Leon WTCC, O’Young had the honour of outpacing the third factory Chevrolet of Alain Menu.
Yokohama Independents points leader Pepe Oriola took sixth in his Tuenti Racing Leon, 0.013s ahead of leading BMW runner Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport).
James Thompson’s Lada Granta Sport made huge strides from free practice one to finish ninth in its maiden WTCC outing. Owing to its nationally homologated status, the Granta will not be allowed to progress into Q2 should it finish among the top-12 in this afternoon’s first qualifying session.
Following a competitive showing in Slovakia, the Team Aon Fords have struggled for pace at the Hungaroring. The Focus S2000 TCs of James Nash and Tom Chilton propped up the bottom of the classification in 21st and 22nd.
“We are struggling in the braking zones, and it’s killing our mid-corner speed,” explained Nash. “We made a change after free practice one and, unfortunately, that has messed up something else so we spent most of the session in the pits rectifying it.
“We have to try these things, and we now know what it is. Although we have a lot of work to do before qualifying, Slovakia has showed that when we’re on equal footing, on a track new to everyone, we can be competitive.”
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 1m55.287s
2. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 1m55.313s + 0.026s
3. Robert Huff Chevrolet 1m55.662s + 0.375s
4. Darryl O’Young Special Tuning SEAT 1m55.905s + 0.618s
5. Alain Menu Chevrolet 1m56.038s + 0.751s
6. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 1m56.618s + 1.331s
7. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m56.631s + 1.344s
8. Alex MacDowall bamboo Chevrolet 1m56.659s + 1.372s
9. James Thompson Lada Granta Sport 1m56.705s + 1.418s
10. Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 1m56.949s + 1.662s
11. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 1m57.007s + 1.720s
12. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 1m57.072s + 1.785s
13. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m57.335s + 2.048s
14. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m57.344s + 2.057s
15. Pasquale di Sabatino bamboo Chevrolet 1m57.371s + 2.084s
16. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m57.437s + 2.150s
17. Gabor Weber Zengo BMW 1m57.637s + 2.350s
18. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 1m57.677s + 2.390s
19. Stefano D’Aste Wiechers BMW 1m57.726s + 2.439s
20. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m57.820s + 2.533s
21. James Nash Arena Ford 1m57.950s + 2.663s
22. Tom Chilton Arena Ford 1m58.054s + 2.767s