Thailand WTCC: Lopez tops red-flagged FP1

WTCC champion-elect Jose Maria Lopez led the way in the first free practice session of the penultimate round in Buriram, Thailand.

The Argentinian set his benchmark just in time, a handful of seconds before the session was interrupted due to Lada's Nicolas Lapierre crashing out.

Mehdi Bennani, who led most of the session, came home second, with Citroen's Sebastien Loeb completing a 1-2-3 for the French manufacturer.

Testing pace-setter Norbert Michelisz came fourth, despite looking competitive for a top three result, ahead of fellow Honda driver Gabriele Tarquini, with Nicky Catsburg sixth for Lada.

Tiago Monteiro took seventh for Honda ahead of Hugo Valente's Campos Racing Chevrolet, with Ma Qing Hua and Rob Huff completing the top ten.

Championship contender Yvan Muller finished just outside the top ten in 11th, but the Frenchman was not able to complete a representative lap before the session was interrupted.

A number of drivers, including local hero Tin Sritrai as well as Gregoire Demoustier and Lapierre, had laps deleted for track limits offences.

Practice results:

Pos. Driver Car Time Gap
 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 1'40.074  
 Mehdi Bennani Citroen 1'40.373 0.299
 Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1'40.623 0.549
 Norbert Michelisz Honda 1'40.636 0.562
 Gabriele Tarquini Honda 1'40.886 0.812
 Nicky Catsburg Lada 1'40.986 0.912
 Tiago Monteiro Honda 1'41.105 1.031
 Hugo Valente Chevrolet 1'41.223 1.149
 Ma Qing Hua Citroen 1'41.513 1.439
10   Rob Huff Lada 1'41.529 1.455
11   Yvan Muller Citroen 1'41.634 1.560
12   Stefano D'Aste Chevrolet 1'41.942 1.868
13   Tom Coronel Chevrolet 1'41.967 1.893
14   Nicolas Lapierre Lada 1'42.057 1.983
15   Tom Chilton Chevrolet 1'43.151 3.077
16   Gregoire Demoustier Chevrolet 1'42.354 2.280
17   John Filippi Chevrolet 1'42.355 2.281
18   Tin Sritrai Chevrolet 1'42.503 2.429

Pietro Casillo / TouringCarTimes

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About this article
Series WTCC
Event Buriram
Track Chang International Circuit
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Jose Maria Lopez , Mehdi Bennani
Teams Citroën World Touring Car team , Sébastien Loeb Racing
Article type Practice report