Spa WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez continues to dominate
|By Peter Mills||Saturday, June 21st 2014, 11:58 GMT|
Jose Maria Lopez maintained his Friday margin of superiority over his Citroen World Touring Car Championship team-mates in Spa-Francorchamps practice on Saturday.
The series leader recorded the fastest time of the day so far during practice one, with a 1m24.350s on his second flying lap.
Lopez ended the session 1.198 seconds up on title rival Yvan Muller, while just 0.05s covered Muller, Ma Qing Hua and World Rally Championship legend Sebastien Loeb in the remaining three Citroens.
Ma's final effort had fleetingly moved him up to second, but the time was disallowed for breach of track limits at Blanchimont.
Lada team-mates James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy, as well as Yokohama Trophy leader Franz Engstler, also had laptimes annulled by race officials. Indeed, cars cutting Eau Rouge and running with all four wheels off the road on corner exits was a theme of both practice sessions.
Campos Chevrolet driver Hugo Valente continued his strong early-weekend form of 2014 by finishing top non-C-Elysee runner in fifth and then secured second behind Lopez in practice two with a lap completed just after the chequered flag.
Lopez was two tenths adrift of his morning effort in the afternoon session but was again the only driver to dip below the 2m25s mark. He was seven tenths clear of Valente, with Muller a further 0.128s behind.
Ma recovered from being shown a black and white warning flag for track limit infringements to make it three Citroens in the top four, but Loeb had a relatively low-key session prior to qualifying and ended the afternoon ninth.
Leading Honda representative Mehdi Bennani was seven tenths adrift of Valente in practice one's 'best of the rest' battle. Gabriele Tarquini took fifth later on, but was another to receive a warning flag for breach of track limits.
The former WTCC champion was stripped of one competitive time, but produced a lap that secured fifth in the final five minutes of action.
Dusan Borkovic completed the free practice two top six. The Serbian bounced back from a spin in the opening practice session, when he lost the rear of his Campos Cruze at the final part of Les Combes.
Rob Huff showed no ill effects from frequent commuting between Spa and the Nurburgring, where he is competing in this weekend's Nurburgring 24 Hours, to secure in-house Lada honours in 14th in the morning.
Practice one: Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 2m24.350s 2. Yvan Muller Citroen 2m25.548s +1.198s 3. Ma Qing Hua Citroen 2m25.628s +1.278s 4. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2m25.698s +1.348s 5. Hugo Valente Campos Chevrolet 2m25.804s +1.454s 6. Mehdi Bennani Proteam Honda 2m26.678s +2.328s 7. Tom Chilton ROAL Chevrolet 2m26.690s +2.340s 8. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 2m26.784s +2.434s 9. Tiago Monteiro Honda 2m26.842s +2.492s 10. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 2m27.422s +3.072s 11. Tom Coronel ROAL Chevrolet 2m27.453s +3.103s 12. Dusan Borkovic Campos Chevrolet 2m27.894s +3.544s 13. Gianni Morbidelli Munnich Chevrolet 2m28.160s +3.810s 14. Rob Huff Lada 2m28.407s +4.057s 15. Rene Munnich Munnich Chevrolet 2m29.300s +4.950s 16. James Thompson Lada 2m29.689s +5.339s 17. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada 2m30.217s +5.867s 18. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 2m34.994s +10.644s* 19. Pasquale Di Sabatino Engstler BMW 2m35.805s +11.455s* 20. John Filippi Campos SEAT 2m36.715s +12.365s* 21. Norbert Nagy Campos SEAT 2m44.292s +19.942s* * TC2 Practice two: Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap 1. Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 2m24.561s 2. Hugo Valente Campos Chevrolet 2m25.275s +0.714s 3. Yvan Muller Citroen 2m25.403s +0.842s 4. Ma Qing Hua Citroen 2m25.492s +0.931s 5. Gabriele Tarquini Honda 2m25.537s +0.976s 6. Dusan Borkovic Campos Chevrolet 2m26.214s +1.653s 7. Tiago Monteiro Honda 2m26.368s +1.807s 8. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 2m26.465s +1.904s 9. Tom Coronel ROAL Chevrolet 2m27.129s +2.568s 10. Gianni Morbidelli Munnich Chevrolet 2m27.614s +3.053s 11. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda 2m27.771s +3.210s 12. Rob Huff Lada 2m27.804s +3.243s 13. Tom Chilton ROAL Chevrolet 2m28.660s +4.099s 14. Mehdi Bennani Proteam Honda 2m28.724s +4.163s 15. James Thompson Lada 2m28.902s +4.341s 16. Rene Munnich Munnich Chevrolet 2m30.019s +5.458s 17. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada 2m31.265s +6.704s 18. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 2m33.903s +9.342s* 19. John Filippi Campos SEAT 2m36.443s +11.882s* 20. Pasquale Di Sabatino Engstler BMW 2m36.725s +12.164s* 21. Norbert Nagy Campos SEAT 2m38.778s +14.217s* * TC2