Lopez on top in first practice in Slovakia

Citroen's Jose Maria Lopez was fastest in the first free practice at the Slovakiaring on Saturday, the reigning WTCC champion holding the top spot comfortably throughout.

The bulk of the drivers’ best times coming on their first flying lap at the start of the session, with the abrasive circuit and common use of worn tyres to focus on race set-up in the session meaning few improvements followed.

Lopez's first flying lap of 2m05.201s therefore left him seven tenths of a second clear of Lada’s Rob Huff, with Ma Qing Hua finishing third in the second best of the Citroens.

Jaap van Lagen's Lada was one of the few to improve late in the session and set the fourth fastest time, just under a second off of Lopez’s pace.

Gabriele Tarquini was the best placed of the Hondas in fifth, leading the independent Zengo Motorsport Honda of Norbert Michelisz, Yvan Muller's Citroen and Tiago Monteiro's Honda.

In a relatively incident-free session, Tom Coronel had a minor off in his Chevrolet Cruze at Turn 3, bringing gravel back on to the circuit and having to pit to have his radiator grill cleared, while his ROAL Motorsport teammate Tom Chilton went off at Turn 1 and buried his Chevrolet in the gravel.

Despite this, Chilton was still the fastest of the struggling Chevrolet contingent in ninth, while also out of position was last year’s sole race winner Sebastien Loeb in 14th position for Citroen.

WTCC debutant Nestor Girolami made steady progress in his Nika International Honda Civic, and was in the top 10, 1.3 seconds from the overall pace set by fellow Argentinian driver Lopez.

Practice results:

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 2'05.201  
Rob Huff Lada 2'05.917 0.716
Ma Qing Hua Citroen 2'06.139 0.938
Jaap van Lagen Lada 2'06.189 0.988
Gabriele Tarquini Honda 2'06.252 1.051
Norbert Michelisz Honda 2'06.360 1.159
Yvan Muller Citroen 2'06.367 1.166
Tiago Monteiro Honda 2'06.462 1.261
Tom Chilton Chevrolet 2'06.473 1.272
10  Nestor Girolami Honda 2'06.475 1.274
11  Nick Catsburg Lada 2'06.585 1.384
12  Mehdi Bennani Citroen 2'06.597 1.396
13  Hugo Valente Chevrolet 2'06.740 1.539
14  Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2'06.843 1.642
15  Stefano D'Aste Chevrolet 2'07.062 1.861
16  Gregoire Demoustier Chevrolet 2'07.093 1.892
17  Tom Coronel Chevrolet 2'08.057 2.856
18  John Filippi Chevrolet 2'08.182 2.981
19  Mat'o Homola Chevrolet 2'09.517 4.316

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

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About this article
Series WTCC
Event Slovakia
Track Slovakia Ring
Drivers Jose Maria Lopez
Article type Practice report