Practice 1 – Morbidelli flies in Honda Civic Step 2
24 October 2015
Gianni Morbidelli and his new Honda Civic TCR Step 2 dominated the first Practice at Buriram. The Italian driver jumped on top of the time sheet halfway through the session and consistently improved since, inflicting a gap of half-a-second to Pepe Oriola’s SEAT León.
Local driver Tin Sritrai was the first to post significant lap times in the early stages with the Asia Racing Team SEAT, however, soon the ball passed to Stefano Comini who posted a provisional fastest lap of 1:45.621.
Morbidelli was the first to break the 1:45. Wall, as he was clocked at 1:44.807 that he improved further to 1:44.215 before posting an impressive 1:43.506 in the final moments.
The trio of Craft-Bamboo Lukoiled trailed behind the leader, with Oriola (1:44.099), Sergey Afanasyev (1:44.396) and Jordi Gené (1:44.407) in the order, while René Münnich completed the top five (1:44.848).
An impressive Hugo Valente ranked sixth in the Campos Racing Opel Astra (1:44.862); the young Frenchman kept a place among the top drivers throughout the session.
Thai racer Munkong Sathienthirakul achieved a brilliant ninth position in the Craft-Bamboo SEAT (1:44.996) and topped the TCR Asia field ahead of his fellow countryman Sritrai who was classified 13th.
A few drivers were affected by technical issues: Tomas Engström’s Volkswagen missed the whole session due to a defective sensor, Alain Menu’s was struggling with braking and differential problems, while Rob Holland’s Ford stopped on the track after posting some encouraging lap times also due to a differential failure.
The second free practice will start at 11.00 local time.
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