Hugo Valente tops final practice session in Paul Ricard
Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente becomes the first non-Citroën driver to top a timed session in the 2014 WTCC season, with the Chevrolet driver fastest ahead of ROAL’s Tom Chilton and Honda’s Tiago Monteiro in FP2, with Yvan Muller the fastest Citroën driver in fifth.
In a calmer session than the first, Yvan Muller was the fastest of the three Citroën drivers, all three sitting at the top of the time sheets for the first half of the session, before ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton went quicker than the French manufacturer’s drivers in his ROAL Motorsport Cruze, going faster than Loeb’s time from this morning.
Dusan Borkovic followed him up to second in shortly afterwards, but the two Chevrolets were later split by the Honda of Tiago Monteiro.
In the final minutes of the session, the #7 Campos Chevrolet of Hugo Valente took over at the top of the time sheets, with the French driver just over a tenth of a second faster than Chilton, the only other driver under 1:31.
With none of the Citroëns setting times anywhere near Loeb’s pace from this morning, it looked like the team were deliberately not showing their hand in the final practice session ahead of qualifying.
Two drivers lost their laps during the session, the Honda of Tiago Monteiro and the Citroën of Yvan Muller, with Monteiro having judged to have gained time running wide at Turn 5 and Muller at Turn 6.
Several drivers were warned for exceeding the track limits at Turn 5, including Monteiro, Rob Huff, Tom Chilton and Norbert Michelisz.
Rob Huff was the fastest of the Lada drivers in 12th, while Franz Engstler was again the fastest of the TC2T class drivers in his Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320 TC, just 4.3 seconds down on Valente’s time and in 16th overall.
Next is the three-part qualifying session which begins at 15:00 CET.