Alex MacDowall set the fastest lap in practice on Friday for the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at the raceway in Sonoma.

MacDowall, from the United Kingdom, toured the 12-turn, 2.50-mile road course in 1 minute, 48.281 seconds. MacDowall was followed by a pair of Spanish drivers in Pepe Oriola (1:48.609) and Fernando Monje (1:48.979). MacDowall drives a Chevrolet Cruze, while Oriola and Monje compete for SEAT Leon.

The session was cut short by four minutes when Felice Tedeschi crashed at Turn 4 in his BMW. Tedeschi walked away from the incident but his car was damaged beyond repair and will not compete this weekend.

“I managed to complete one good lap and set a kind of benchmark, “ MacDowall said. “However I don’t think it would stay the fastest until the end because the red flag prevented the (other) Chevrolet drivers from improving.”

WTCC points leader Yvan Muller was fourth in practice in his Chevrolet at 1:49.891.

“It was a session devoted to learning the circuit. Unfortunately, we could not use the entire 30 minutes allocated as the session was red-flagged and did not resume until four minutes before the end,” Muller said. “The surface was quite slippery today and we have quite a bit of work on set-up ahead of us.”

This marks the first-ever visit to North America by the WTCC, which visits other exotic locales as Brazil, Japan, China, Macau, Italy and Morocco. This the ninth of 12 stops this season for the WTCC.

Action returns tomorrow with qualifying for the WTCC at 2:45 p.m. There will also be main events in the Maserati Trofeo World Series, Auto GP Championship and United States Touring Car Championship. Actor Patrick Dempsey from the hit television drama “Grey’s Anatomy” will be racing in the Maserati series. Tickets are available at the gate on Saturday for $25; children 12 and under are free and parking is free. Visit for details or call 800-870-7223 (RACE).