Sonoma WTCC: Yvan Muller edges Norbert Michelisz in practice two
|By Sam Tremayne||Saturday, September 7th 2013, 18:46 GMT|
Yvan Muller narrowly defeated Norbert Michelisz to seal top spot in the final World Touring Car Championship practice at Sonoma.
Michelisz had hit the front early, with his 1m46.299s putting his Zengo Honda almost a full second clear of anyone else after the first set of flyers.
It also seemed good enough for top spot as times then fell away, but with five minutes to go Muller stole ahead by just three hundredths of a second.
The Frenchman's time was slower however than Pepe Oriola's morning benchmark, and almost one second off the lap that earned him pole in 2012.
That showed in the fact several drivers were able to best him in sector one on their own late flyers, only to fall away over the final splits.
Chief among them was Hugo Valente, who was up on Muller all the way to the final turns, when he surrendered a chunk of time and wound up third, more than three tenths down.
Honda's Gabriele Tarquini beat Muller's team-mate Tom Chilton to fifth, with James Nash 0.1s down the road in sixth.
Freddy Barth, who returns to the Wiechers squad after substitute Jose Maria Lopez won last time out in Argentina, was top BMW in seventh.
Mehdi Bennani was second for much of the session, but ended up being bumped down to eighth, ahead of Fernando Monje and Darryl O'Young.
Morning pacesetter Oriola was 12th, although he too was up on Muller in the first split of his final run, which tailed away dramatically in the final sector.
Defending champion Rob Huff rounded out the 24 runners, finishing 2.7s off the outright pace.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet 1m46.268s 2. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 1m46.299s +0.031s 3. Hugo Valente Campos SEAT 1m46.618s +0.350s 4. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 1m46.654s +0.386s 5. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet 1m46.866s +0.598s 6. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet 1m46.948s +0.680s 7. Fredy Barth Wiechers BMW 1m47.057s +0.789s 8. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 1m47.169s +0.901s 9. Fernando Monje Campos SEAT 1m47.200s +0.932s 10. Darryl O'Young ROAL BMW 1m47.258s +0.990s 11. Marc Basseng Munnich SEAT 1m47.321s +1.053s 12. Pepe Oriola Tuenti Chevrolet 1m47.341s +1.073s 13. Michel Nykjaer Nika Chevrolet 1m47.393s +1.125s 14. Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1m47.435s +1.167s 15. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet 1m47.438s +1.170s 16. James Thompson Lada 1m47.439s +1.171s 17. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 1m47.476s +1.208s 18. Tiago Monteiro Honda 1m47.523s +1.255s 19. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1m47.682s +1.414s 20. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada 1m47.755s +1.487s 21. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 1m48.179s +1.911s 22. Stefano D'Aste PB BMW 1m48.347s +2.079s 23. Rene Munnich Munnich SEAT 1m48.364s +2.096s 24. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT 1m48.994s +2.726s