Tarquini Tops FP2 As SEATs Show Strongly In Sonoma

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Gabriele Tarquini - Photo Credit: WTCC Media

Gabriele Tarquini was the man to beat in second practice for the World Touring Car Championship’s first races in the United States as the SEAT drivers showed Chevrolet won’t have it all their own way in Sonoma.

A number of drivers from both makes sat in top spot during the session but it was Tarquini who finished up in first place with his effort of 1m46.457.

After topping first practice, championship leader Yvan Muller was second in FP2, 0.286s behind Tarquini. Then came Tiago Monteiro, who improved upon 17th in the earlier session to finish up third in his Sunred-powered Leon, in which the Portuguese star is making his final appearance before switching to Honda for Japan.

Tom Boardman was a strong fourth in his Special Tuning Racing Leon, just four thousandths behind Monteiro. Rob Huff was half a second off the pace in fifth in his Chevrolet, as he bids to close the 17 point gap to Muller this weekend. The third factory Cruze of Alain Menu was just behind in sixth.

The SEATs of Aleksei Dudukalo and Fernando Monje both had spells in P1 before slipping back to seventh and eighth, while the Team Aon Ford Focuses continued to look competitive with James Nash and Tom Chilton rounding out the top ten.

Boardman’s teammate Darryl O’Young was 11th ahead of Norbert Michelisz in the best of the BMWs on a circuit that is evidently not suiting the German machines, with several of the 320 models going off track at Turn 2. Pepe Oriola was the worst of the SEATs in 13th, ahead of the BMWs of Franz Engstler, Tom Coronel and Alberto Cerqui.

Alex MacDowall continued to struggle to repeat the pace-setting form he had in Friday’s test in 17th ahead of more BMWs driven by Mehdi Bennani, Charles Ng and Stefano D’Aste. Last-minute American entry Robb Holland was last in his bamboo engineering Chevrolet, but did at least get a good number of laps in.

Qualifying takes place at 22:15 BST.

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Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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