Honda’s Tiago Monteiro led a Honda 1-2 in the second WTCC practice session held under the floodlights in Qatar, finishing just under a tenth of a second faster than teammate Norbert Michelisz.
Lada's Hugo Valente made the early running with a time of 2m03.413s, but this quickly beaten by Michelisz, who went three-tenths of a second faster in his factory Honda Civic.
Monteiro meanwhile hit one of the new tyre stacks on his first run, and was forced to return to the pits for repairs. Rob Huff was the next to improve on Michelisz’s time, bringing the times into the 2m02s.
Valente went faster still as the track conditions improved, before the red flag was waved after ROAL Motorsport driver Tom Coronel was forced to stop his Chevrolet Cruze on track after the front-left wheel came loose and rolled across the circuit.
This gave Honda the opportunity to continue repairs on Monteiro’s car, and for the marshals to replace the tyre stack.
After the session resumed and with 10 minutes to go, Ferenc Ficza went fastest in the Zengo Honda, before Sebastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani took over at the top.
A flurry of improvements followed, with Rob Huff briefly taking the top spot, before Lopez snatched it back with five minutes to go with a time in the low 2m02s.
However, the next laps were all in the 2m01s, with Monteiro going fastest ahead of Michelisz and Valente. Lopez, who topped the earlier practice session, was pushed down to fourth.
Gabriele Tarquini was fifth fastest for Lada ahead of Huff, while Daniel Nagy would emerge as the fastest of the independent drivers for Zengo in seventh.
Bennani, Ficza, and the Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet of James Thompson completed the top 10.
Yvan Muller was 11th, 1.3 seconds off the pace, while both of the Volvos, which were third and fourth in the first practice, went backwards in the second session, ending up 13th and 14th.
Second practice results:
|4||Jose Maria Lopez||Citroen||2'02.152||0.676|
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes