For the second time this year bamboo-engineering’s Alex MacDowall posted the fastest lap in Friday’s test session. It had happened in Sonoma before, when the session was cut short by a red flag.
Today in Shanghai, the red flag was also waved, but the session was resumed and MacDowall set the fastest time of 1:56.304 after the break.
Rob Huff was second fastest, having completed a lap of 1:56.346 just seconds before MacDowall improved for good. Pepe Oriola and his SEAT were classified in third position with the time of 1:56.387 also posted in the final minutes.
Nearly at the same time WTCC returnee Colin Turkington climbed to fifth with a lap of 1:56.651, after the red flag had spoiled his previous attempt.
They were the only four top drivers who were able to improve after the red flag that had been waved with eight minutes left on the clock to replace a pack of tyres hit by a car at Turn 11.
Tiago Monteiro’s Honda Civic was placed in a promising fourth position with a lap of 1:56.439 – only one tenth behind MacDowall’s – that the Portuguese driver had set a couple of minutes before the session was disrupted, topping the sheet for the time being.
Yvan Muller (1:56.653) was sixth, followed by the fastest BMW of Tom Coronel (1:56.735), local hero Darryl O’Young (1:56.785), Tom Boardman (1:56.931) and Fernando Monje (1:57.184). The third Chevrolet factory driver, Alain Menu, placed himself in 11th (1:57.188) just ahead of James Nash’s Ford Focus (1:57.316).
A few drivers spun while trying to find the limits of the track, but they all rejoined: Alex Liu at Turn 2, Mehdi Bennani and Kelvin Leong at Turn 3, Monje at Turn 4.