Jose Maria Lopez fastest in first session of 2016 WTCC

Double world champion Jose Maria Lopez was fastest in the first World Touring Car Championship testing session of the year at a moist Paul Ricard

Jose Maria Lopez fastest in first session of 2016 WTCC

Lopez went fastest in the opening minutes of the half-hour session and was trailed by Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller, while Honda's Norbert Michelisz was third-fastest.

The Citroen drivers were the first to take to the circuit in their C-Elysees, and were quickly on the pace as Muller went fastest with an opening effort of 1m45.414s.

But Lopez went quicker on the next tour, finishing with an effort of 1m44.077s.

He remained unheaded from there, despite spinning in the rain and Muller improving to within half a second of his benchmark in the final five minutes of the session.

All three of Honda's drivers enjoyed a low-key session, but Michelisz jumped up to the third in the final minute with an effort of 1m44.725s.

That displaced Mehdi Bennani, the best-placed of the Sebastien Loeb Racing satellite Citroen entries, who was fourth-fastest ahead of team-mate Tom Chilton.

ROAL Motorsport's Tom Coronel was sixth ahead of Nick Catsburg, who finished the session fastest of the Lada drivers, while Tiago Monteiro was eighth.

Rob Huff was 12th in the third factory Honda.

Fredrik Ekblom and Thed Bjork were 14th and 15th respectively in their Volvo S60 Polestars on the manufacturer's return to the WTCC.

Neither of Zengo Motorsport's new recruits set a time, with Ferenc Ficza and Daniel Nagy staying in the pits for the entirety of the session.

TEST SESSION TIMES

Pos Driver Team Car Gap Laps
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Racing Citroen 1m44.077s 13
2 Yvan Muller Citroen Racing Citroen 0.476s 12
3 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 0.648s 11
4 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 0.749s 11
5 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 0.772s 12
6 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1.360s 10
7 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada 1.697s 15
8 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1.779s 13
9 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada 1.797s 11
10 Gregoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2.251s 11
11 Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada 3.229s 14
12 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 3.584s 13
13 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 4.400s 12
14 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 5.490s 11
15 Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 5.945s 11
16 Rene Munnich Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 8.743s 11
- Ferenc Ficza Zengo Motorsport Honda - 0
- Daniel Nagy Zengo Motorsport Honda - 0


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