Yvan Muller leads first practice session in Russia

Citroën Total WTCC driver Yvan Muller was the fastest driver in the first free practice session at the Moscow Raceway, with his three team-mates scattered throughout the top ten at the Russian circuit, while Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini was just a few hundredths of a second behind.

The four-time champion waited until the last ten minutes of the session to put in his best time, breaking into the 1:39s when last year’s pole time (also set by Muller, then in the RML Chevrolet Cruze) was a 1:43.296.

Gabriele Tarquini got close with a time of 1:39.962, the only other driver to break the 1m40 barrier, while ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel, who was also fast at the Moscow Raceway last season while driving the BMW 320 TC, was third quickest.

Championship leader José María López ended the session eighth fastest in his Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, three-tenths of a second faster than his new team-mate Ma Qing Hua, who’s making his WTCC debut this weekend.

James Thompson was the fastest of the Lada contingent in his rebuilt Granta Sport, setting the 12th fastest time, just 1.2 seconds off of the overall pace, while there were problems for team-mate Mikhail Kozlovskiy, stopping in the second sector with just five minutes to go.

In the TC2 category, Franz Engstler was the fastest in his BMW 320 TC, with a time of 1:43.732 indicating that the circuit has also got quicker this year, not just the new cars. Engstler was almost unchallenged, with team-mate Pasquale Di Sabatino 1.4 seconds slower.

The new Russian driver this weekend, Nikika Misiulia, never set a timed lap in the Campos SEAT León, going out for just three untimed runs in the session.

Free Practice 2 follows at 11:00 MSK (09:00 CET).