Luca Engstler and Mat’o Homola at the wheel of their Volkswagen Golf GTI cars emerged as the fastest drivers in the first Free Practice at the Dubai Autodrome.
Homola had set two provisional fastest laps of 1:45.643 and 1:45.368, but halfway through the session Engstler improved to 1:45.276.
Points leader Giacomo Altoè ranked third with a best lap of 1:45.581 in his Audi RS3 LMS, ahead of Lorenzo Veglia (1:45.866), Florian Thoma (1:45.975) and series’ newcomer Danny Kroes (1:46.068).
Engstler: “The car is brilliant despite the 20 kilos of success ballast. Over the race distance I guess we might have some problems with tyres and braking. It will be tough against the DSG cars that are much lighter.”
Homola: “I know the track, although every time I race here it’s on a different layout. We are working hard and the first practice was ok. We didn’t have any problems.”
Giacomo Altoè: “It’s not easy with 30 kilos of success ballast on board. You can feel the difference while braking, accelerating and changing direction.”
Kroes: “I like the Audi, it’s a nice car and pretty quick on the straight. We had a little issue in this session, but we can fix it for the next one.”
Ryba: “We are improving. I get to know the car and this is a better racetrack for me.”
The second practice will start at 13:15 local time.