Photo: Citroën Racing

José María López leads Citroën 1-2-3 in Slovakia qualifying

José María López has claimed his second pole of the season after dominating every session of the weekend at the Slovakiaring, leading Citroën team-mates Sébastien Loeb and Yvan Muller in a dramatic qualifying session.

In the first part of qualifying, Zengõ’s Norbert Michelisz set an impressive time of 2:05.014, finishing first in the session and ensured he was straight through into Q2, with Citroën’s Yvan Muller second and the ROAL Chevrolet of Tom Coronel third on their first runs, all in the low 2:05s and safely into the second part of qualifying.

The fight was all about not falling out in Q1 however, and with Mehdi Bennani’s Proteam Honda suffering with a turbo problem, it came down to a last lap battle between Lada’s Rob Huff and Münnich Motorsport’s René Münnich, with Huff on the bubble in 12th and Münnich 13th. The German had a high-speed off on his first lap at Turn 2, and had it all to do on his lap.

Münnich set a quick first sector, but lost time in the second sector however, allowing Huff’s Lada through to Q2, a first for Lada this year.

The second part of qualifying started disastrously for Honda, when Gabriele Tarquini’s bonnet flew up on his first flying lap and he was forced to stop on circuit, with team-mate Tiago Monteiro and the Lada of Rob Huff forced to take avoiding action.

The session was red flagged, while Tarquini attended to his own car and brought it back to the pits. When the session resumed, there was only enough time for one lap for everyone, with José María López going fastest of all in the Citroën ahead of Norbert Michelisz and Sébastien Loeb.

A repaired Tarquini was able to go out and set the eighth fastest time, with Tiago Monteiro going tenth fastest and securing the provisional pole for race two, with Campos’ Dusan Borkovic and Lada’s Rob Huff outside the top ten in 11th and 12th.

In the one-lap shootouts, Gianni Morbidelli set a good benchmark in the Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet, but was beaten by Citroën’s Yvan Muller, despite a slight mistake by the Frenchman in the first sector on cold rear tyres.

Sébastien Loeb then went faster than the pair of them, while Zengõ Honda’s Norbert Michelisz slotted in-between Muller and Morbidelli on his lap.

The last lap and the glory went to José María López though, breaking into the 2:03s for the first time weekend and stealing pole and the five points that come with it with a time of 2:03.912.

The first race takes place at 13:15 CET tomorrow with race two at 17:45.