Monza WTCC: Monteiro tops first practice despite puncture
Honda's Tiago Monteiro led the first WTCC practice session at Monza, despite suffering a puncture midway through the session.
The session was initially led by Munnich Citroen's Rob Huff, who had topped the timesheets at the pre-season at the test last month with a time of 1m52.444s.
Huff set the early pace in the 1m53.9s, set during the first half of the session, before Honda's Norbert Michelisz took over from the midway point with a time of 1m53.779s.
Following Michelisz’s improvement, teammate and championship leader Tiago Monteiro locked up and went on at the Della Roggia chicane, experiencing a front-left puncture on his Civic WTCC.
Shortly afterwards, Rob Huff then lost the rear of his C-Elysee into Variante del Rettifilo, and also picked up a puncture, forcing him to slowly drive around most of the 5.8km circuit and back to the pits.
There was a flurry of last-minute improvements in the last 10 minutes with Tiago Monteiro, back out in a repaired Honda going fastest of all with a time of 1m53.572s, just over a tenth of a second ahead of Polestar Volvo’s Thed Bjork.
Michelisz would finish third, while Rob Huff would make a late improvement to go fourth with a 1m53.4s, splitting Michelisz and teammate Ryo Michigami, who finished the session in fifth place.
Nestor Girolami was sixth in his Volvo ahead of the privateer Sebastien Loeb Racing-run Citroen of Mehdi Bennnani, with Volvo’s Nicky Catsburg, RC Lada driver Yann Ehrlacher and ROAL Chevrolet driver Tom Coronel completing the top 10.
All 16 cars took part in the test, with WTCC newcomer Kevin Gleason in last place, just three-tenths behind Morocco Race 1 winner Esteban Guerrieri.
Practice 1 Results:
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes
Monteiro expects Honda to struggle at Monza
Monza WTCC: Bjork leads Volvo 1-2 in second practice