Tiago Monteiro posted the fastest time during a shakedown test prior to the first round of the season at Curitiba in Brazil. The session was due to last for an hour and a half but was stopped with 20 minutes remaining when rookie Aleksei Dudukalo crashed his SEAT heavily.

The Russian lost control of his Lukoil-SUNRED car on the exit of the Esse da Alta and crashed heavily into the barriers on the inside. This brought out the red flags and the session was not resumed. Dudukalo escaped unhurt but his car sustained heavy front-end damage.

“The accident was not as bad as it might seem,” he said afterwards. “The guys say they are not worried, everything is fine. We are now trying to repair the damaged suspension and bodyparts. If we have time we will do the second test. In the penultimate corner I lost the rear end, couldn’t hold it and crashed into the inside barrier head-on.

Monteiro was surprisingly quickest in his SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI, which was not expected to be able to match the Chevrolet Cruze with the new 1.6 litre turbo. Alain Menu was the fastest of the Chevrolet drivers in second place, eight hundredths slower than Monteiro's best. Reigning champion Yvan Muller was third for Chevrolet.

Franz Engstler was the fastest Independent as well as the quickest BMW driver in his 320 TC. Rob Huff and Caca Bueno were fifth and sixth ensuring all four Cruze 1.6Ts were in the top six. Tom Coronel was seventh in his ROAL BMW, with Fredy Barth eighth for SUNRED. Dudukalo was ninth quickest before crashing, while Robert Dahlgren was tenth in the Polestar Volvo C30.

Both Gabriele Tarquini and Javier Villa failed to set a lap time as their cars received final adjustments. This is particularly unhelpful for Villa, who has not tested the BMW prior to the Curitiba weekend.

A second test session, this time just thirty minutes, will be held later on Friday, with two practice sessions set for Saturday morning.

Test Session 1:

Pos No Driver Nat Car Time Gap Laps
1 18 Tiago Monteiro PRT SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI 1:24.360   13
2 8 Alain Menu CHE Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 1:24.440 +0.080 12
3 1 Yvan Muller FRA Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 1:24.446 +0.086 15
4 12 Franz Engstler DEU BMW 320 TC 1:24.472 +0.112 21
5 2 Robert Huff GBR Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 1:24.529 +0.169 15
6 6 Carlos Bueno BRA Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 1:24.592 +0.232 17
7 15 Tom Coronel NLD BMW 320 TC 1:24.689 +0.329 22
8 7 Fredy Barth CHE SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI 1:24.899 +0.539 12
9 4 Aleksei Dudukalo RUS SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI 1:25.023 +0.663 18
10 30 Robert Dahlgren SWE Volvo C30 1:25.036 +0.676 21
11 74 Pepe Oriola ESP SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI 1:25.265 +0.905 19
12 11 Kristian Poulsen DNK BMW 320 TC 1:25.304 +0.944 15
13 17 Michel Nykjaer DNK SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI 1:25.688 +1.328 11
14 25 Mehdi Bennani MAR BMW 320 TC 1:26.304 +1.944 8
15 9 Darryl O’Young HKG Chevrolet Lacetti 1:27.071 +2.711 15
16 10 Yukinori Taniguchi JPN Chevrolet Lacetti 1:27.492 +3.132 14
17 21 Fabio Fabiani ITA BMW 320si 1:31.777 +7.417 16
18 65 Marchy Lee HKG BMW 320 TC 1:32.219 +7.859 4
19 3 Gabriele Tarquini ITA SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI No time  
20 20 Javier Villa ESP BMW 320 TC No time