Tiago Monteiro in the WestCoast Racing Honda Civic emerged as the fastest driver in the first Practice, posting a lap time of 2:34.636 in the final moments of the session, which beat Pepe Oriola’s 2:35.008.
Gianni Morbidelli was classified third fastest (2:35.077) ahead of the Leopard Racing duo of Jean-Karl Vernay (2:35.379) and Stefano Comini (2:35.464). TCR Germany champion Josh Files clocked the sixth fastest lap (2:35.706).
Current championship leader James Nash was placed eighth (2:36.586) followed by TCR Asia champion Andy Yan (2:37.941) who was by far the best of the Chinese drivers.
The session was disrupted by the red flag during the opening lap, when a car from the local championship spun at Moorish Hill and blocked the track. More than ten minutes were left before the car was removed and the session resumed with only 18 minutes left on the clock.
Comini posted a provisional fastest lap of 2:37.097 that was immediately beaten by Vernay’s 2:36.691. Then it was Oriola who jumped on top of the time sheet with a lap of 2:35.922.
Comini and Vernay responded lapping in 2:35.464 and 2:35.379 respectively, but Oriola was faster then them once again in 2:35.008.
A few seconds before the end of the session, Monteiro set the fastest lap for good (2:34.636), while Morbidelli moved up to third (2:35.077).
The second Practice will kick off tomorrow at 12:30 local time.