José María López tops final practice in Portugal

Championship leader José María López was fastest of all in Free Practice 2 at Circuito Vila Real, leading Citroën team-mate Sébastien Loeb, with Nika Racing’s Néstor Girolami third fastest in the Honda Civic.

The Argentinian driver came close to breaking the two-minute barrier at the end of the session, demoting Citroën team-mate Sébastien Loeb from the top of the time sheets with under five minutes to go with a time of 2:00.155.

A few moments before, fellow Argentinian Néstor Girolami had jumped up the order on a new tyre run in his Honda Civic, and was just five-thousandths of a second behind Loeb’s time in the privateer car run by Nika International.

Ma Qing Hua was fourth fastest in the third best placed of the Citroëns, with Tiago Monteiro fifth in the factory Honda ahead of Citroën’s Yvan Muller.

Rob Huff was the best placed of the Ladas, which had a mixed session. Huff’s team-mate Jaap van Lagen lost two of his laps due to breaking the track limits at the chicanes, which was then followed by a black flag for the Dutch driver and was forced to miss the last half of the session.

Van Lagen’s team-mate Nicky Catsburg also received a track limits warning, as did ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel during the 30-minute session.

Gabriele Tarquini and Tom Chilton were both able to take part in their repaired cars, thanks due to a 15 minute delay which allowed final repairs to take place to the rear of Chilton’s Chevrolet after a support race overran. Tarquini finished the session 13th ahead of Chilton, but the incident in FP1 which saw both cars damaged has been judged as the responsibility of the Italian by the stewards and he’s been given a reprimand.

Qualifying is next up and takes place at 15:15 WEST.