Photo: Citroën Racing

José María López leads delayed test session at Vila Real

Citroën’s José María López was fastest of all in the first testing session at the Vila Real circuit in Portugal, over eight-tenths of a second faster than the Zengo Honda of Norbert Michelisz.

The championship leader clocked a best lap around the newest circuit on the WTCC calendar of 2:01.455 in his C-Elysée, in a session which was delayed and then red flagged early on due to problems with one of the barriers.

Norbert Michelisz was the only driver within a second of López, with López’s team-mate and closest championship rival Yvan Muller third, 1.4 seconds down.

Sébastien Loeb was fourth fastest in his Citroën ahead of Mehdi Bennani in the Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën.

Gabriele Tarquini was the fastest of the factory Hondas in sixth, ahead of Hugo Valente, who was the fastest of the Chevrolet drivers.

Tiago Monteiro was eighth fastest at his home circuit in the works Honda Civic, with Néstor Girolami ninth fastest for Nika Racing in his second outing of the season, with Citroën’s Ma Qing Hua completing the top ten.

Jaap van Lagen was the best placed of the three works Ladas in 12th, leading team-mates Rob Huff and Nicky Catsburg in 13th and 14th.

The next session is Free Practice 1 which takes place at 9:10 WEST on Saturday.