Spa WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez dominates Friday test for Citroen
|By Peter Mills||Friday, June 20th 2014, 11:42 GMT|
World Touring Car Championship leader Jose Maria Lopez topped an overcast Friday test as the series returned to Belgian Grand Prix venue Spa-Francorchamps for the first time since 2005.
Lopez left it until his final lap to topple title rival and Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller from the head of the timing screens. The triple TC2000 champion was the only driver to break into the 2m24s, his lap of 2m24.575s being 0.718 seconds quicker than the Frenchman.
In the early damp running, Lopez initially held a 6.5s edge over Miller, and was still 1.2s ahead at the mid-way mark.
Tiago Monteiro prevented a Citroen lock-out of the top three positions. In the final minute of the session, the factory Honda racer demoted Sebastien Loeb to fourth.
Nine-time World Rally champion Loeb ended the afternoon sandwiched between the two JAS-run Civics of Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini.
Dusan Borkovic was the top privateer in sixth, the Serbian three tenths quicker than his Campos team-mate Hugo Valente, with whom he had collided at the preceding Moscow Raceway meeting.
Citroen's occasional fourth driver Ma Qing Hua, winner of the reversed-grid race in Russia on his championship debut, took a solid eighth. Ma languished outside the top 10 until finding a significant last lap improvement.
James Thompson was the fastest Lada driver in 14th, some 4.471s off Lopez's benchmark pace.
Aiming for his fifth consecutive TC2 victory, Franz Engstler led the Yokohama Drivers' Trophy runners.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 2m24.574s 2. Yvan Muller Citroen 2m25.292s +0.718s 3. Tiago Monteiro Honda 2m25.583s +1.009s 4. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2m25.794s +1.220s 5. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 2m25.940s +1.366s 6. Dusan Borkovic Campos Chevrolet 2m25.954s +1.380s 7. Hugo Valente Campos Chevrolet 2m26.242s +1.668s 8. Ma Qing Hua Citroen 2m27.346s +2.772s 9. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 2m27.625s +3.051s 10. Gianni Morbidelli Munnich Chevrolet 2m27.656s +3.082s 11. Tom Chilton ROAL Chevrolet 2m27.792s +3.218s 12. Mehdi Bennani Proteam Honda 2m27.927s +3.353s 13. Tom Coronel ROAL Chevrolet 2m28.799s +4.225s 14. James Thompson Lada 2m29.045s +4.471s 15. Rob Huff Lada 2m29.344s +4.770s 16. Rene Munnich Munnich Chevrolet 2m30.565s +5.991s 17. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada 2m30.998s +6.424s 18. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 2m35.511s +10.937s* 19. Pasquale Di Sabatino Engstler BMW 2m37.104s +12.530s* 20. John Filippi Campos SEAT 2m40.076s +15.502s* * TC2