In the final seconds of Free Practice 2 ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel broke the expected rule book of the weekend, becoming the first driver to do a lap of under eight-two seconds with a time of 1m 21.824, four tenths quicker than Honda’s Rob Huff who had held the top spot for the final ten minutes of the session.
Even Coronel seemed surprised. “I’m just thinking how I did it,” admitting that after set-up changes and the addition of used tyres that “the car felt good” as he went out in the final minutes.
Nevertheless it was a strong performance from Huff, who slipped back to fourth in First Practice but returned to form taking away second from José-María López. The Citroën driver could not oust Huff even after his pit notified him that he could, “brake a bit later in turn eleven.” in an example of driver coaching that is banned in other series.
It was a strong session for Honda with Norbert Michelisz and Tiago Monteiro rounding out the top five split only by two hundredths of a second.
Just missing out on the top five by two tenths was Nicky Catsburg in his LADA performing superbly in the improving car reaching as high as fourth throughout the session, jumping the curbs, a technique much employed by Coronel, in the process.
Volvo’s Fredrik Ekblom also impressed, taking advantage of a clear track in the middle of the session to push the S60 as high third in the standings before the more experienced Honda and Citroën drivers returned for their second runs.
As in the first session times were close, just nine-tenths of a second covering second to eleventh meaning that the first and at least second qualifying sessions should be close. However, if Coronel can repeat his stellar performance three more times it would be a unexpectedly victorious weekend for a driver who “loves new circuits”.
|1||9||T||Tom CORONEL||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||14||1:21.824||0.000|
|2||12||Rob HUFF||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||16||1:22.076||0.252|
|3||37||José María LÓPEZ||Citroën Total WTCC||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||14||1:22.143||0.319|
|4||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||13||1:22.224||0.400|
|5||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||15||1:22.248||0.424|
|6||10||Nicky CATSBURG||LADA Sport Rosneft||LADA Vesta WTCC||15||1:22.423||0.599|
|7||68||Yvan MULLER||Citroën Total WTCC||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||13||1:22.638||0.814|
|8||2||Gabriele TARQUINI||LADA Sport Rosneft||LADA Vesta WTCC||16||1:22.681||0.857|
|9||15||T||James THOMPSON||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||14||1:22.707||0.883|
|10||25||T||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||16||1:22.866||1.042|
|11||61||Fredrik EKBLOM||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 WTCC||15||1:22.980||1.156|
|12||62||Thed BJÖRK||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 WTCC||14||1:23.062||1.238|
|13||27||T||John FILIPPI||Campos Racing||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||17||1:23.240||1.416|
|14||7||Hugo VALENTE||LADA Sport Rosneft||LADA Vesta WTCC||14||1:23.252||1.428|
|15||3||T||Tom CHILTON||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||12||1:23.347||1.523|
|16||11||T||Grégoire DEMOUSTIER||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||16||1:24.078||2.254|
|17||55||T||Ferenc FICZA||Zengő Motorsport||Honda Civic WTCC||10||1:24.300||2.476|