José María López dominates second free practice in Macau
World Touring Car champion elect José María López was fastest in the final practice session for the WTCC in Macau, setting a time over a second clear of his nearest competitor, the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC of his team-mate Ma Qing Hua.
Outgoing champion Yvan Muller set the first benchmark with a time of 2:27.811, but the López was the first, and currently only driver, to break into the 2:26s on his run, setting a time of 2:26.965 shortly before the session was red flagged ten minutes in.
This was as Pepe Oriola had crashed out his Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 at Paiol, at the same spot where his Campos Racing team-mate Hugo Valente went off yesterday. There was damage to the left-rear and front-right suspension of his Cruze, with the session delayed for over ten minutes as the car was extracted and returned to the paddock.
When the session resumed, José María López was able to improve his time even further, finding another nine-tenths of a second against his first run to set a time of 2:26.060.
Ma Qing Hua set a late improvement to go second quickest, while Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro in the two factory Honda Civics were third and fourth fastest, after having topped the times in the first free practice session on Thursday afternoon.
Sébastien Loeb completed the top five in his Citroën, while Tom Chilton was the fastest of the Chevrolet drivers in seventh, with Rob Huff the fastest of the Ladas in ninth, just under two seconds off the pace.
Qualifying is next up at 15:10 CST, with an extended qualifying session as this is a street circuit, with 30 minutes for Q1, 15 minutes for Q2 and Q3 expected to be another 15 minutes with the one lap shootout format.