Paul Ricard WTCC: Citroen's Yvan Muller, Ma Qing Hua lead practice

Citroen topped both practice sessions for its home race at Paul Ricard, with Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Ha leading the way at the World Touring Car Championship's French round

Paul Ricard WTCC: Citroen's Yvan Muller, Ma Qing Hua lead practice

Muller was the quickest in the first session and his first two laps set the benchmark, as his first flying lap of 1m31.490 sent him top, before he improved to a 1m30.950s on the following tour.

Sebastien Loeb proved to be the nearest challenger to Muller early in the session, as their champion team-mate Jose Maria Lopez resided in the pits after catching a bollard on a corner's exit.

The Argentinian's Citroen team set about repairing an apparent damaged headlight before sending him back out on track and he managed to take second behind Muller.

Lopez's pace deserted him in a second session that featured several drivers failing to stay within track limits and, the Argentinian joined their ranks late on with a mistake on a fast lap.

Ma was his target, as track times tumbled late on and helped the Chinese driver move to first place with his time of 1m30.029s.

Lopez had struggled before his penultimate lap and was a lowly 10th, but after setting two blistering sector times, he ran wide and lost significant time, leaving him down in 11th at the session's end.

He wasn't the only frontrunner to struggle, as the morning pacesetter Muller finished eighth behind Loeb and ahead of Tiago Monteiro, the Portuguese driver third fastest in the earlier running for Honda.

Their troubles meant Ma went unchallenged in the final minutes ahead of Gregoire Demoustier, the best placed independent in both sessions in the Craft-Bamboo Chevrolet showing his strongest WTCC form yet at home. Tom Coronel completed the top three.

Those closing seconds also featured the track limit problems hitting their crescendo with a black flag for Stefano D'Aste and an off for John Filippi's Chevrolet.

PRACTICE ONE TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m30.950s - 13
2 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m31.159s 0.209s 11
3 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m31.187s 0.237s 11
4 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m31.252s 0.302s 13
5 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m31.258s 0.308s 11
6 Gregoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet 1m31.348s 0.398s 14
7 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m31.441s 0.491s 14
8 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m31.516s 0.566s 13
9 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 1m31.689s 0.739s 12
10 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m31.690s 0.740s 11
11 Stefano D'Aste All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 1m31.698s 0.748s 12
12 Jaap van Lagen LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m31.762s 0.812s 15
13 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m31.841s 0.891s 10
14 Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m31.973s 1.023s 12
15 Rickard Rydell Nika International Honda 1m32.251s 1.301s 13
16 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 1m32.318s 1.368s 14
17 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m32.409s 1.459s 14
18 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m33.012s 2.062s 11

PRACTICE TWO TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m30.029s - 13
2 Gregoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet 1m30.348s 0.319s 10
3 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m30.460s 0.431s 14
4 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m30.578s 0.549s 11
5 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 1m30.720s 0.691s 13
6 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 1m30.728s 0.699s 11
7 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m30.845s 0.816s 12
8 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m30.892s 0.863s 11
9 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m30.892s 0.863s 11
10 Stefano D'Aste All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 1m31.147s 1.118s 15
11 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1m31.227s 1.198s 12
12 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m31.400s 1.371s 11
13 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 1m31.826s 1.797s 14
14 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 1m31.910s 1.881s 11
15 Rickard Rydell Nika International Honda 1m31.947s 1.918s 11
16 Jaap van Lagen LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m31.989s 1.960s 11
17 Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m32.271s 2.242s 13
18 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 1m32.903s 2.874s 10

shares
comments
Super TC2000 champ Nestor Girolami hoping for more WTCC starts
Previous article

Super TC2000 champ Nestor Girolami hoping for more WTCC starts

Next article

Paul Ricard WTCC: Sebastien Loeb and Citroen claim home pole

Paul Ricard WTCC: Sebastien Loeb and Citroen claim home pole
Load comments
Why joker laps are entering the mainstream Plus

Why joker laps are entering the mainstream

This season the World Touring Car Championship looks certain to bring joker laps to a circuit-racing world championship for the first time. And it need not be the daft gimmick people may think

WTCC
Apr 6, 2017
The making of the world's best tin-top driver Plus

The making of the world's best tin-top driver

He has been overshadowed at Citroen for the last three seasons, but the retirement of Yvan Muller means the world says farewell to one of touring-car racing's finest talents

WTCC
Sep 26, 2016
Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC Plus

Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC

Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC

WTCC
Jan 18, 2016
The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off Plus

The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off

A 17-car field on a 13-mile track - the WTCC's Nurburgring Nordschleife gamble wasn't going to be easy to pull off. STUART CODLING explains how the series made it work

WTCC
May 20, 2015
Insight from a Nordschleife master Plus

Insight from a Nordschleife master

World championship racing returns to the Nordschleife this weekend. STUART CODLING got a lesson from one of the legendary track's few masters

WTCC
May 15, 2015
Becoming world champion for £100k Plus

Becoming world champion for £100k

The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000

WTCC
Mar 23, 2015
Can the vanquished champion bounce back? Plus

Can the vanquished champion bounce back?

The World Touring Car Championship kicks off in Argentina this weekend, and Yvan Muller bids to reclaim his throne from Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez. He talks to STUART CODLING

WTCC
Mar 6, 2015
The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014

Citroen had no rivals during the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, and 'rookie' Jose Maria Lopez hit the ground running to emerge as a worthy champion. PETER MILLS rates the field

WTCC
Dec 3, 2014