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Paul Ricard WTCC: Hugo Valente's Chevrolet leads Saturday practice

Hugo Valente, Campos Chevrolet, Paul Ricard WTCC 2014

Campos Chevrolet driver Hugo Valente set the fastest time in free practice for round two of the World Touring Car championship at Paul Ricard.

Privateer-run, RML-built, Chevrolet Cruze TC1s occupied the top two positions in Saturday's faster second practice session.

Fresh from his maiden WTCC podium in Marrakech last weekend, Valente's quickest time of 1m30.673s edged out the singleton ROAL Motorsport entry of Tom Chilton by 0.129 seconds.

Valente had also flown in the morning, when he was second fastest behind Sebastien Loeb, and 0.002s ahead of championship leader Jose Maria Lopez in third.

It would have been a Cruze top-three sweep in practice two had Tiago Monteiro not shot up from 11th to third in the final two minutes of the half-hour session. The factory Honda driver displaced Valente's team-mate Dusan Borkovic.

Reigning WTCC champion Yvan Muller bounced back from a troubled first session to finish as lead Citroen in fifth.

Watch video highlights on the AUTOSPORT WTCC page

None of the three fancied Citroen drivers matched their earlier practice pace in the second session.

Triple TC2000 champion Jose Maria Lopez completed the practice two top six, finishing 0.016s ahead of Gabriele Tarquini.

The Italian is set to make a belated start to his 2014 WTCC campaign this weekend, having been forced to miss both races in Marrakech when his Civic WTCC was written off in a practice accident.


Sebastien Loeb, Citroen, Paul Ricard WTCC 2014

On a circuit where he has tested extensively, World Rally legend Loeb continued his impressive transition to the WTCC by setting the fastest time in first practice.

The Citroen star was the only man to dip below the 1m31s mark in the morning, thanks to a time of 1m30.891s.

Loeb's practice one pace preceded a more subdued later showing where he ended up ninth.

After being taken out of race two in Marrakech in a startline accident involving Tom Coronel, Citroen's title favourite Muller is playing catch-up this weekend.

His difficulties followed him to Le Castellet, as he clipped a stack of tyres marking the Mistral straight chicane mid-way through practice one.

The C-Elysee's front-right bodywork was damaged, prompting red flags and restricting Muller's running to four laps.

Follow both Paul Ricard WTCC races as they happen with AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live on Sunday April 20

Practice one:

Pos  Driver                 Team/Car           Time       Gap
 1.  Sebastien Loeb         Citroen            1m30.891s
 2.  Hugo Valente           Campos Chevrolet   1m31.037s  +0.146s
 3.  Jose Maria Lopez       Citroen            1m31.039s  +0.148s
 4.  Yvan Muller            Citroen            1m31.390s  +0.499s
 5.  Tom Chilton            ROAL Chevrolet     1m31.489s  +0.598s
 6.  Tiago Monteiro         Honda              1m31.664s  +0.773s
 7.  Gabriele Tarquini      Honda              1m31.747s  +0.856s
 8.  Norbert Michelisz      Zengo Honda        1m31.893s  +1.002s
 9.  Dusan Borkovic         Campos Chevrolet   1m32.312s  +1.421s
10.  Rene Munnich           Munnich Chevrolet  1m32.589s  +1.698s
11.  James Thompson         Lada               1m32.604s  +1.713s
12.  Rob Huff               Lada               1m32.887s  +1.996s
13.  Gianni Morbidelli      Munnich Chevrolet  1m32.889s  +1.998s
14.  Mehdi Bennani          Proteam Honda      1m33.134s  +2.243s
15.  Mikhail Kozlovskiy     Lada               1m33.725s  +2.834s
16.  Franz Engstler         Engstler BMW       1m35.707s  +4.816s*
17.  Pasquale di Sabatino   Engstler BMW       1m36.369s  +5.478s*
18.  John Filippi           Campos SEAT        1m36.927s  +6.036s*

* TC2

Practice two:

Pos  Driver                 Team/Car           Time       Gap
 1.  Hugo Valente           Campos Chevrolet   1m30.673s
 2.  Tom Chilton            ROAL Chevrolet     1m30.802s  +0.129s
 3.  Tiago Monteiro         Honda              1m31.162s  +0.489s
 4.  Dusan Borkovic         Campos Chevrolet   1m31.222s  +0.549s
 5.  Yvan Muller            Citroen            1m31.483s  +0.810s
 6.  Jose Maria Lopez       Citroen            1m31.562s  +0.889s
 7.  Gabriele Tarquini      Honda              1m31.578s  +0.905s
 8.  Norbert Michelisz      Zengo Honda        1m31.667s  +0.994s
 9.  Sebastien Loeb         Citroen            1m31.712s  +1.039s
10.  Gianni Morbidelli      Munnich Chevrolet  1m31.757s  +1.084s
11.  Rene Munnich           Munnich Chevrolet  1m31.884s  +1.211s
12.  Rob Huff               Lada               1m32.074s  +1.401s
13.  Mehdi Bennani          Proteam Honda      1m32.499s  +1.826s
14.  Mikhail Kozlovskiy     Lada               1m32.736s  +2.063s
15.  James Thompson         Lada               1m33.355s  +2.682s
16.  Franz Engstler         Engstler BMW       1m35.027s  +4.354s*
17.  John Filippi           Campos SEAT        1m35.786s  +5.113s*
18.  Pasquale di Sabatino   Engstler BMW       1m35.797s  +5.124s*

* TC2
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