José María López leads Citroën 1-2-3 in red flagged FP2

Citroën Total WTCC locked out the top three spots in FP2, the final practice before qualifying, with José María López ahead of Ma Qing Hua and Yvan Muller, with the Honda of Tiago Monteiro still close by in fourth.

Yvan Muller set the time to beat on his first lap of 1:46.979, although this was slower than team-mate José María López’s time from FP1, the conditions were now much hotter for the 11am practice session.

Tiago Monteiro though put in an equally competitive time in his Honda, and was just five-hundredths of a second behind Muller’s Citroën in his Honda Civic, with López consistently setting times that were good enough for third.

Rob Huff had a light spin in the middle of the session in his Lada Vesta, forcing the British driver to return to the pits and have the radiator grill cleared.

With just under ten minutes to go, the red flag was out as Hugo Valente’s car speared off the circuit and into the barriers with an apparent brake problem. The front-right of the Frenchman’s Campos Racing Chevrolet caught fire but was hastily extinguished by marshals.

The Spanish team have less than three hours to repair the car for qualifying for Valente, who was sixth fastest at the time and the top Chevrolet.

The session resumed with nine minutes remaining, with Rob Huff improving to go from 18th to fourth in the Lada. In short order, the two Citroëns of Ma Qing Hua and José María López rocketed to the top of the time sheets, setting times of 1:46.833 and 1:46.812 respectively.

López managed to put in another final run as the chequered flag came out to improve his time yet again, with a lap of 1:46.589, almost a quarter of a second faster than Ma, with Yvan Muller finishing up third.

Tiago Monteiro remained as the fastest of the Hondas, with Rob Huff’s Lada Vesta just four-tenths of a second behind in fifth.

Mehdi Bennani was the quickest again of the Yokohama Independents’ Trophy drivers in sixth in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, ahead of Stefano D’Aste’s Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet, with Citroën’s Sébastien Loeb and the two Campos Chevrolets of John Filippi and Hugo Valente completing the top ten.

Qualifying follows at 15:00 ART (19:00 CET).