Lopez leads Nordschleife WTCC test

Citroen's Jose Maria Lopez was fastest of all in the first one-hour test session of this weekend's WTCC round at the Nurburgring Nordschleife.

Lopez led team-mates Sebastien Loeb and Yvan Muller, despite suffering a puncture while he was set to improve on his time.

The reigning champion's first lap of 8m41.192s was an early benchmark that was never bettered in the extended length practice due to the nature of the circuit.

Lopez set four laps during the session, 100km in total, almost the equivalent of two standard WTCC race distances.

A puncture in the final sector saw the Argentinean forced to abort a lap which was certain to be faster than his previous run, leaving his earlier effort as the best lap of the session.

Lopez was not the only driver to suffer a puncture during the test, with Honda's Tiago Monteiro having an issue with his front-left early in the session. But the Portuguese driver was able to go out and finish the session sixth fastest, 4.5 seconds from Lopez's time.

Loeb and Muller completed a Citroen top three, with Hugo Valente the closest competitor to the Citroens in fourth in the Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze.

The Frenchman was 2.7 seconds from Lopez's time on the 25km circuit, with Gabriele Tarquini fifth and the best placed of the Hondas.

Of the two Ladas entered this weekend, Jaap van Lagen was ninth fastest on his WTCC return racing the new Vesta TC1, while Rob Huff only set one flying lap right at the end of the session was 13th fastest.

Sabine Schmitz, on her WTCC debut, was 17th and last, but never set a full flying lap in the session, completing just a pair of exploration laps in the Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze.

The next session for the WTCC this weekend is free practice 1, which takes place at 8:15 CET tomorrow.

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

Pos  Driver   Car / Engine   Time  Gap   Laps 
Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 8'41.192   4
Sebastien Loeb Citroen 8'41.980 0.788 5
Yvan Muller Citroen 8'42.395 1.203 6
Hugo Valente Chevrolet 8'43.877 2.685 4
G.Tarquini Honda 8'44.737 3.545 5
Tiago Monteiro Honda 8'45.672 4.480 3
Ma Qing Hua Citroen 8'46.002 4.810 4
Mehdi Bennani Citroen 8'46.307 5.115 5
Jaap van Lagen Lada 8'46.477 5.285 4
10  Tom Chilton Chevrolet 8'46.873 5.681 4
11  Stefano D'Aste Chevrolet 8'48.627 7.435 5
12  N.Michelisz Honda 8'49.392 8.200 5
13  Rob Huff Lada 8'49.847 8.655 3
14  Tom Coronel Chevrolet 8'52.405 11.213 4
15  G.Demoustier Chevrolet 9'02.617 21.425 3
16  John Filippi Chevrolet 9'05.440 24.248 4
17  Sabine Schmitz Chevrolet 9'08.014 26.822 2

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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 Practice report