Yvan Muller dominates second practice at Porto

Championship leader Yvan Muller was more than half a second clear in the second free practice session at Porto, which saw local driver Tiago Monteiro’s session end early with an apparent engine problem.

RML Chevrolet’s Yvan Muller was the fastest of the first drivers to set a lap until his time was deleted after exceeding the track limits. Just eight minutes in Tiago Monteiro’s engine let go at Turn 13 which saw the Honda driver out of the session.

The session resumed after Monteiro’s car had been recovered, with the top place changing hands constantly throughout practice. RML’s Tom Chilton briefly held the fastest time but was soon replaced with fast laps from Zengo Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz and then Gabriele Tarquini’s Hondas, with both being the first drivers all day to break under the 2:08 barrier.

With just a few minutes to go, Yvan Muller pulled out a time of 2:06.864 to go over six-tenths faster than Tarquini’s Honda. The Italian was able to improve by one-tenth of a second on his next lap but was still 0.581 seconds off of Muller’s time when the chequered flag fell.

Pepe Oriola impressed by again setting the third fastest time in the Chevrolet Cruze, whilst Norbert Michelisz ended up fourth ahead of the fastest SEAT and top Yokohama Trophy driver, Fernando Monje.

The two Russian drivers, Nikolay Karamyshev and Mikhail Kozlovskiy’s sessions ended early. Kozlovskiy damaged the rear-left of his Lada Granta Sport on circuit and spend the remainder of the session in the pits after just setting four laps and the 25th fastest time, whilst Karamyshev crashed out his Campos Racing SEAT at Turn 20 with just a few minutes remaining, which saw the yellow flags disrupt a number of drivers laps.

Several drivers were slowing down on the circuit in order to position themselves in other cars’ slipstream in the 30 minute session to maximise their lap times. The fast street track has a number of long straights where the slipstream could again prove vital as it has previously this year at Monza, Marrakech and Salzburgring, though after the penalties which were handed out at Salzburg post qualifying drivers are likely to be more careful this weekend.

Qualifying takes place at 15:00 WET/16:00 CET.