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Macau WTCC: Honda's title hopeful Michelisz beats Huff in FP1

Norbert Michelisz Honda WTCC Macau 2017

Honda driver Norbert Michelisz led the way in the first World Touring Car Championship practice session in Macau in preparation for Sunday's Guia race.

Championship hopeful Michelisz jumped to the top of the times with 15 minutes of the session gone, and sat more than a second clear of his rivals for much of the remaining half hour.

Rob Huff eventually got within four tenths of a second of the fastest time in his Munnich Motorsport Citroen C-Elysee after a raft of improvements in the final 15 minutes of the session, but got no closer to the 2m27.802s lap recorded by Michelisz aboard his Honda Civic.

Tom Chilton headed a Sebastien Loeb Racing 3-4-5 in his C-Elysee ahead of Mehdi Bennani and Ma Qing Hua, who is returning to the WTCC for the Macau event after two years away from the series.

Bennani had been Michelisz's closest rival early on but did not finish the session after clattering into the barriers on the approach to the Melco Hairpin with three minutes remaining, with his C-Elysee removed by a recovery crane before the end of the session.

Nestor Girolami was fastest of the Volvo contingent and topped a tight pack of cars from sixth to ninth, beating Michelisz's factory Honda team-mates Ryo Michigami and Esteban Guerrieri, who is deputising for the injured Tiago Monteiro for a second round in a row.

The Honda pair separated Girolami and his team-mates Nicky Catsburg and Thed Bjork, who completed the top 10 in their respective Volvo S60s.

Points leader Bjork ended the session 2.618 seconds slower than chief title rival Michelisz.

Two drivers failed to set a time; Daniel Nagy brought the session to an early halt after stopping his Zengo Motorsport Honda Civic on his out-lap, while Campos Racing's Kin-Pong Clerebold Chan did not take to the circuit.

FP1 times

PosDriverTeamCarTimeGapLaps
1Norbert MicheliszHonda Racing Team JASHonda2m27.802s-11
2Rob HuffMunnich MotorsportCitroen2m28.154s0.352s13
3Tom ChiltonSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen2m28.745s0.943s12
4Mehdi BennaniSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen2m29.039s1.237s11
5Ma Qing HuaSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen2m29.826s2.024s11
6Nestor GirolamiPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo2m29.929s2.127s12
7Ryo MichigamiHonda Racing Team JASHonda2m30.000s2.198s12
8Esteban GuerrieriHonda Racing Team JASHonda2m30.011s2.209s13
9Nicky CatsburgPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo2m30.084s2.282s13
10Thed BjorkPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo2m30.420s2.618s14
11Tom CoronelROAL MotorsportChevrolet2m31.442s3.640s13
12John FilippiSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen2m31.603s3.801s13
13Yann EhrlacherRC MotorsportLada2m32.078s4.276s14
14Kevin GleasonRC MotorsportLada2m32.928s5.126s12
15Zsolt David SzaboZengo MotorsportHonda2m36.628s8.826s9
16Ka Lok MakRC MotorsportLada2m38.501s10.699s11
17Po Wah WongCampos RacingChevrolet2m53.766s25.964s9
18Daniel NagyZengo MotorsportHonda--0
19Clerebold ChanCampos RacingChevrolet--0


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