Pepe Oriola fastest in Sepang Practice

Pepe Oriola fastest in Sepang Practice

29 September 2016

Pepe Oriola posted an impressive fastest lap in the 30-minute Free Practice at Sepang International Circuit, a session that was disrupted twice by the red flag and that saw last year’s TCR lap records smashed thanks to the fact that the track was completely resurfaced. Right after the start, Mikhail Grachev was forced to pit with a puncture to the front left tyre.
Loris Hezemans was the first to break the 2:19 wall, setting a provisional fastest lap of 2:18.458 that was immediately improved by Kevin Gleason’s 2:18.041 and Oriola’s 2:17.968.
Minutes later Andy Yan spun off at Turn 1 and beached his Volkswagen Golf car onto the gravel trap.
Oriola improved again to 2:17.459, while Stefano Comini and James Nash climbed to second and third with laps of 2:17.939 and 2:18.008, but then the session was red-flagged with twenty minutes left on the clock, as the marshals were not able to move Yan’s car.
When practice resumed, Oriola improved further to 2:16.491 and then to 2:16.241; Jean-Karl Vernay posted a provisional second fastest lap of 2:16.850 with Gianni Morbidelli third (2:17.390) and Nash fourth (2:17.716).
The red flag was waved a second time to recover William O’Brien’s Volkswagen from a gravel trap and the session resumed one more with eight minutes left on the clock. Attila Tassi and Comini were able to improve: a lap of 2:17.492 placed the young Hungarian in fourth, while Comini was classified fifth (2:17.524).
TeamWork Motorsport’s Kevin Tse was the fastest of the TCR Asia drivers in 11th position (2:19.008), while newcomers Roberto Colciago, Mario Ferraris and Nicky Pastorelli posted the 12th, 14th and 18th fastest laps respectively.
Both Russian drivers lamented technical issues: intercooler for Grachev, gearbox for Sergey Afanasyev; the former re-joined in the final minutes, while the latter was only able to complete three slow laps, one less than Rafaël Galiana whose car suffered from lack of power. Tin Sritrai too completed only three laps because of a power steering failure.
Just before the end of the session Davit Kajaia stopped on the track, as he ran out of fuel.
The Qualifying session will kick off tomorrow at 08:40 local time. 


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