Photo: WTCC Media

Yvan Muller sets the pace in Shanghai Free Practice 1

Yvan Muller led the way in Free Practice 1 at Shanghai. The Frenchman took the lead of the session early on and never left it. Gabriele Tarquini put his Honda Civic in second behind the Citroën C-Elysée, with championship leader José María López third.

The session was basically smooth, with a few minor offs from Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente at the hairpin and Tarquini going straight at the chicane. Dusan Borkovic beached himself in the gravel, but was helped by the marshals out of it and was able to continue the session.

The track did not seem to offer much grip, as the overcast weather conditions and a light fog made the surface a little slippery. Most of the best lap times were set early in the session and, despite some very keen efforts, most of the field failed to improve.

Citroën led the session with Muller ahead of Honda’s Tarquini. López came third ahead of team-mate Ma Qing Hua and Tiago Monteiro’s Honda Civic. Sébastien Loeb finished sixth ahead of Tom Chilton, who was able to improve late in the session to seventh, emerging as the fastest Chevrolet driver.

Norbert Michelisz was eighth fastest in the first non-works Honda Civic, with Tom Coronel ninth and Mehdi Bennani in tenth making it another Chevrolet-Honda pair.

After a good result yesterday, Lada Sport slipped down the order with Rob Huff emerging as the leading driver in fifteenth ahead of team-mates Mikhail Kozlovskiy and James Thompson.

Next up for the WTCC is Free Practice 2, which is scheduled for 10.40 CST.