Lopez claims pole at the Nordschleife

Reigning WTCC champion Jose Maria Lopez will start from pole position at the Nordschleife, setting a time of 8m37.327s to go 1.2 seconds faster than his closest competitor Hugo Valente.

In the special one-hour qualifying session, it came down to three runs for all cars at the 25km Nordschleife, with Lopez the fastest in each group, improving his pole position time each time.

The Argentinian’s first lap was 8m41.462s, which he brought down to a 8m37.716s on his second run, before a final effort of 8m32.327s gave him pole position and a WTCC lap record at the Nurburgring.

The Citroens didn’t have it all their own way as they were troubled by the independent entries of Campos Racing and Zengo Motorsport, with Valente going second fastest on his final run in the Campos Chevrolet, and Norbert Michelisz fourth in the Zengo Honda, breaking up any chance of a Citroen top five lock-out. Sebastien Loeb will start third.

Lada had a troubled session, with Jaap van Lagen returning to the pits with an electronics problem and not setting a time, while team-mate Rob Huff stopped out on track after his first lap, meaning the Russian cars qualified 17th and 13th respectively.

In the final stages, attention turned towards the race two pole position, which is awarded to the driver who qualifies 10th.

Campos’s John Filippi held the spot for much of the session, but was dropped with a few minutes to go by ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton. The British driver was quickly displaced by his own teammate Tom Coronel, who went ninth quickest, dropping Chilton to 10th and effectively promoting Honda’s Tiago Monteiro to pole for race two.

Sabine Schmitz, making her WTCC debut this weekend, struggled for pace in the Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet and qualified 15th, 12 seconds down on Lopez's pole time.

Qualifying results:

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 8m37.327
Hugo Valente Chevrolet 1.252
Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2.608
Norbert Michelisz Honda 3.268
Ma Qing Hua Citroen 3.925
Yvan Muller Citroen 4.029
Mehdi Bennani Citroen 5.238
Gabriele Tarquini Honda 6.168
Tom Coronel Chevrolet 6.319
10  Tiago Monteiro Honda 6.396
11  Tom Chilton Chevrolet 6.481
12  John Filippi Chevrolet 7.305
13  Rob Huff Lada 8.358
14  Stefano D'Aste Chevrolet 10.043
15  Sabine Schmitz Chevrolet 11.847
16  Gregoire Demoustier Chevrolet 15.254
17  Jaap van Lagen Lada No time

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

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About this article
Series WTCC
Event Nürburgring
Track Nurburgring
Drivers Jose Maria Lopez
Teams Citroën World Touring Car team
Article type Qualifying report