Photo: FIA WTCC Media

Norbert Michelisz tops testing session in Thailand

Norbert Michelisz was fastest in today’s testing session in Buriram, Thailand. The Zengo Motorsport driver was at the front for most of the session and stayed in the lead despite some late attacks from Lada Sport Rosneft’s Nicolas Lapierre. Sébastien Loeb finished third for Citroën.

The session was smooth, with no major incidents in the opening thirty minutes of action. In the early stages it was Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente who made the most out of his previous track experience, taking his Chevrolet RML Cruze to the top of the standings. Very soon, however, Michelisz started to improve his lap times to eventually claim the lead.

Towards the end of the session Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani briefly stole the lead away from the Hungarian, who claimed it back soon after by more than eight tenths. The final runs saw Lapierre as the only driver able to almost match the Honda, the Frenchman just two tenths off the lead.

Behind the leading duo the pack was very close, with Loeb in third ahead of late improver Hugo Valente and Nicky Catsburg in fifth. Championship leader José María López was sixth for Citroën, just ahead of Castrol Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini.

The three remaining C-Elysées completed the top ten, with independent Mehdi Bennani ahead of Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua.

Tiago Monteiro spent a lot of time in the pits making adjustments, and finished in eleventh place for Castrol Honda Racing. Apart from Valente’s outstanding performance, Tom Coronel was the fastest Chevrolet in 12th, with Rob Huff down in 14th in his Lada Vesta.

Free Practice 1 is scheduled for 14.30 local time