The factory Cruze cars dominated the 30-minute session, with the bamboo-engineering Cruze of Yokohama Trophy entrant Alex MacDowall running in fourth place for much of the session before the BMW 320 TC of Tom Coronel took a little over a tenth of a second off MacDowall’s time.
Warm sunshine greeted the drivers as they headed out on to a 4.2km Austrian circuit which only a handful of them have raced at before. Menu quickly topped the timesheets, and although both Robert Huff and Yvan Muller beat Menu’s early pace, it was the Swiss driver who improved his time still further to end the session with the fastest time (1:27.008).
Muller was one of the drivers who fell foul of the right-left chicane at Turn 1 during the session, the Frenchman twice forced to take to the escape road to rejoin at T3, while Norbert Michelisz also spun at the chicane.
The session was twice red-flagged: firstly when the BMW of Stefano D’Aste went off at the entrance to T10 with less than nine minutes remaining and then when MacDowall took to the gravel at T5 while trying to avoid colliding with the rear of his team-mate Pasquale Di Sabatino’s car. The session was not restarted following this second incident.
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