Yvan Muller will be the man to beat in the opening round of the World Touring Car Championship at Monza this weekend, having topped both of Saturday’s practice sessions with a margin of more than seven tenths of a second.
Continuing in RML Chevrolet Cruze despite the departure of the American brand as an official manufacturer, Muller led Honda driver Tiago Monteiro in the first session by 0.712s. Pepe Oriola made it three different brands in the top three in his Tuenti SEAT, a mere thousandth of a second behind Monteiro.
Muller’s new teammate Tom Chilton was fourth ahead of Monteiro’s Honda stablemate, Gabriele Tarquini.
Alex MacDowall was the top Yokohama Trophy runner in his Bamboo Chevrolet, a second off Muller’s pace. James Thompson put his Lada seventh, ahead of Nika Chevrolet driver Michel Nykjaer. Tom Coronel’s ROAL BMW and the Munnich SEAT of reigning champion Rob Huff completed the top ten.
In session two, MacDowall was second, 0.789s behind Muller. Chilton, Nash and Nykjaer made it a top five lockout for the Chevrolets.
Tarquini was the best of the rest in sixth ahead of SEAT men Huff and Oriola. Thompson was ninth with Fernando Monje in tenth in his SEAT.