López leads the way in Slovakia practice

López leads the way in Slovakia practice

Photo by FIA WTCC Media

Photo by FIA WTCC MediaCitroën’s José María López was the fastest driver in the first free practice session for the World Touring Car Championship at the Slovakiaring, beating Honda driver Norbert Michelisz by 0.223 seconds.

The Argentine posted his fastest lap time early on in the half hour session, being the only driver to dip into the 2:05s. Zengo Motorsport’s Michelisz was second fastest, a position he occupied for most of the session.

Yvan Muller was third fastest, just under half a second off the pace, ahead of team-mate Sébastien Loeb in fourth.

Gabriele Tarquini was the top works’ Honda driver in fifth, ahead of ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton in sixth, with the Brit being the final driver within a second of the top time. Chilton heads into this weekend’s races confident, after believing to have found time during testing at the Hungaroring in the week.

Proteam Racing’s Mehdi Bennani was seventh fastest, ahead of the Campos Racing Chevrolet of Hugo Valente. The Frenchman was pushing the track limits during the session which ultimately resulted in an off-track excursion through the gravel.

ROAL’s Tom Coronel and Honda’s Tiago Monteiro completed the top ten, which ended a minute prematurely when Rob Huff’s LADA came to a halt on the circuit with a suspected electrical problem.

Second free practice takes place at 11:50 CEST (10:50 BST).

Top ten times

POS NO CL DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP
1 37 TC1 José María LÓPEZ Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 8 2:05.867 0.000
2 5 TC1 Norbert MICHELISZ Zengő Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 9 2:06.090 0.223
3 1 TC1 Yvan MULLER Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 8 2:06.347 0.480
4 9 TC1 Sébastien LOEB Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 9 2:06.651 0.784
5 2 TC1 Gabriele TARQUINI Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 8 2:06.684 0.817
6 3 TC1 Tom CHILTON ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 8 2:06.761 0.894
7 25 TC1 Mehdi BENNANI Proteam Racing Honda Civic WTCC 11 2:06.960 1.093
8 7 TC1 Hugo VALENTE Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 8 2:07.400 1.533
9 4 TC1 Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 8 2:07.458 1.591
10 18 TC1 Tiago MONTEIRO Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 8 2:07.577 1.710

Complete session results