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José María López stays on top in Second Practice

Citroën’s José María López continued to reign supreme on home turf in Argentina, topping the second Free Practice of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), ahead of team-mates Ma Qing Hua and Yvan Muller.

The early pace-setter in the session had been Yvan Muller, with the Frenchman posting an initial benchmark of 1:46.969 in the first five minutes. Whilst Muller would fail to improve his time thereafter, both Ma and López put in late laps that saw them rise to the top. Ma was first, with a lap two minutes from the end of the session, before last year’s double winner López went two tenths faster in the closing seconds.

Tiago Monteiro was the top Honda driver in fourth, 0.442 seconds off the pace and closer than he had been in first practice.

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Rob Huff was an impressive fifth fastest in the brand new LADA Vesta, with the Brit being the only other driver within a second of López’s time, despite suffering an earlier spin which necessitated a trip to the pits for grass to be cleared from his car’s radiator.

Mehdi Bennani was sixth fastest, once again beating team boss Sébastien Loeb, who ended the session in eighth. Münnich Motorsport’s Stefano D’Aste separated the two in seventh thanks to a late lap which landed him the honour of being the top Chevrolet driver.

Campos Racing’s John Filippi and Hugo Valente completed the top ten, although it was the latter who endured the most dramas. Valente shot off the circuit and into the barriers after ten minutes, suffering from an apparent brake failure. The Frenchman’s car then caught fire, leaving his team with plenty of work before qualifying in order to be able to participate.

Gabriele Tarquini ended the session in 11th as the second-fastest Honda, with independent runners Norbert Michelisz, Rickard Rydell and Dušan Borković all struggling for pace and ending up 14th, 16th and 18th respectively.

Qualifying takes place at 15:00 ART (18:00 BST; 19:00 CET).

Top ten times

1 37 José María LÓPEZ Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 9 1:46.589 0.000
2 33 MA Qing Hua Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 11 1:46.833 0.244
3 68 Yvan MULLER Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 9 1:46.979 0.390
4 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 10 1:47.031 0.442
5 12 Rob HUFF LADA Sport Rosneft LADA Vesta WTCC 9 1:47.442 0.853
6 25 Y Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 10 1:47.950 1.361
7 26 Y Stefano D’ASTE ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 12 1:47.956 1.367
8 9 Sébastien LOEB Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 11 1:47.976 1.387
9 27 Y John FILIPPI Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 10 1:48.110 1.521
10 7 Y Hugo VALENTE Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 5 1:48.128 1.539

Complete session results.

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