Qatar WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez dominates night practice for Citroen

Jose Maria Lopez threw down the gauntlet to his rivals by topping both World Touring Car Championship practice sessions under the lights at Losail in Qatar

Qatar WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez dominates night practice for Citroen

Having secured his second WTCC crown at the previous round in Thailand, Citroen driver Lopez completed a clean sweep of Thursday's sessions, including the earlier testing session, with a best time of 2m01.859 in the evening's second practice half-hour.

Those hoping that his coronation may have given Lopez cause to back off were to be quickly disappointed in first practice, as he hurled his C-Elysee to a fastest time of 2m03.453s.

Lopez's nearest rival was Mehdi Bennani, the Moroccan carrying over his impressive pace from the morning's testing session to set the second best time, 0.410 seconds back from Lopez.

Sebastien Loeb completed an all-Citroen top three with a best effort of 2m03.068s, while Stefano D'Aste was an encouraging fourth in his Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze, marginally ahead of Honda's Gabriele Tarquini.

Loeb's nearest challenger for second place in the championship, Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller, managed only the ninth-fastest time.

There was no let up from Lopez in the second session as the Argentinian went more than a second faster than anyone else with his opening gambit, before becoming the first man to dip below the 2m02s barrier with a 2m01.859s on his second attempt - which would end up being the fastest lap of the session.

Campos Racing's Hugo Valente got closer than anyone else to Lopez with an effort on 2m02.084s, while Gregoire Demoustier was a surprise third in his Craft-Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze.

Loeb ended up fourth and second-best of the Citroens, with Ma Qing Hua, Bennani and Muller finishing seventh, eighth and 11th respectively.

Nasser Al-Attiyah continued to find time on his WTCC debut in the third Campos Chevrolet Cruze, finishing the second session in 17th place, 1.741s slower than Lopez.

PRACTICE ONE TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m02.453s - 10
2 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m02.863s 0.410s 12
3 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m03.068s 0.615s 11
4 Stefano D'Aste All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 2m03.300s 0.847s 12
5 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m03.353s 0.900s 11
6 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m03.492s 1.039s 10
7 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 2m03.514s 1.061s 10
8 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m03.538s 1.085s 12
9 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m03.546s 1.093s 11
10 Nicolas Lapierre LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m03.569s 1.116s 12
11 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m03.705s 1.252s 9
12 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m03.719s 1.266s 12
13 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m04.136s 1.683s 10
14 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 2m04.315s 1.862s 10
15 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 2m04.321s 1.868s 11
16 Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m04.385s 1.932s 11
17 Nasser Al-Attiyah Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m04.445s 1.992s 11
18 Gregoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet 2m04.739s 2.286s 11

PRACTICE TWO TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m01.859s - 11
2 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m02.084s 0.225s 11
3 Gregoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet 2m02.262s 0.403s 10
4 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m02.267s 0.408s 11
5 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m02.404s 0.545s 13
6 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 2m02.519s 0.660s 10
7 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m02.588s 0.729s 11
8 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 2m02.631s 0.772s 11
9 Stefano D'Aste All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 2m02.800s 0.941s 8
10 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m02.817s 0.958s 11
11 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 2m02.823s 0.964s 10
12 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 2m02.869s 1.010s 12
13 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 2m03.126s 1.267s 11
14 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m03.410s 1.551s 11
15 Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m03.499s 1.640s 12
16 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2m03.539s 1.680s 10
17 Nasser Al-Attiyah Campos Racing Chevrolet 2m03.600s 1.741s 11
18 Nicolas Lapierre LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 2m03.630s 1.771s 12

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