Nurburgring WTCC: Muller leads Citroen 1-2 in Thursday test

Yvan Muller finished the first session of the Nurburgring WTCC weekend fastest of all, in a one-hour test where the lead was contested throughout by Muller, his teammate Jose Maria Lopez and Honda’s Rob Huff.

Nurburgring WTCC: Muller leads Citroen 1-2 in Thursday test

Muller set the first benchmark of 8m52.604s after his first run as drivers slowly re-accustomed themselves to the legendary Nordschleife circuit, with the times initially more than 10 seconds from last year's pole position.

Lopez became the first driver to dip under the 8m50s bracket with a time of 8m49.019s, before Muller quickly retaliated and grabbed the top spot back with a time into the 8m45s with half the session remaining.

There was mid-session drama for Morocco race winner Tom Coronel, whose ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze developed a puncture at Turn 30 and stopped on circuit.

Lopez then put his Citroen back in front with 20 minutes to go, but there was a final flurry of improvements as Huff put his Honda on top with a time of 8m42.220s, before Muller blew that time away with an 8m39.950s.

Muller’s only threat as the chequered flag waved was a final run from teammate Lopez, but despite being up in sectors three and four, the Argentinian’s final sector time was over 1.3s slower than his teammate and he had to settle for second, just nine-tenths of a second slower over the 25.3km lap.

Huff finished the session third with Honda teammate Tiago Monteiro fourth quickest, with Tom Chilton the fastest of the independent drivers in fifth in the Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen C-Elysee WTCC.

Hugo Valente was the best-placed of the Ladas in seventh, seven seconds from Muller’s pace, while Thed Bjork was the quickest of the Polestar Volvo S60s in ninth.

Sabine Schmitz was 12th fastest on her WTCC return in the Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet, leading the two Chevrolets of Tom Coronel and John Filippi.

Behind them were SLR's Gregoire Demoustier, with Zengo Motorsport’s Ferenc Ficza mired in the field, 51 seconds off the pace and behind the best placed ETCC drivers.

FP0 results:

1 FranceYvan Muller  Citroen 8:39.950 4
2 ArgentinaJose Maria Lopez  Citroen 8:40.827 4
3 United KingdomRob Huff  Honda 8:42.220 5
4 PortugalTiago Monteiro  Honda 8:44.512 6
5 United KingdomTom Chilton  Citroen 8:45.380 4
6 HungaryNorbert Michelisz  Honda 8:46.095 3
7 FranceHugo Valente  Lada 8:46.947 4
8 MoroccoMehdi Bennani  Citroen 8:47.471 4
9 SwedenThed Björk  Volvo 8:48.901 4
10 NetherlandsNicky Catsburg  Lada 8:49.923 4
11 ItalyGabriele Tarquini  Lada 8:51.260 4
12 GermanySabine Schmitz  Chevrolet 8:55.508 4
13 NetherlandsTom Coronel  Chevrolet 8:55.547 2
14 FranceJohn Filippi  Chevrolet 8:59.742 2
15 FranceGrégoire Demoustier  Citroen 9:03.509 4
16 HungaryFerenc Ficza  Honda Civic WTCC 9:31.200 3
17 SwedenFredrik Ekblom  Volvo S60 WTCC 13:30.382 3

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

Honda aiming for revenge over Citroen at the Nurburgring
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