Jose Maria Lopez saw off the challenge of Citroen teammate and archrival Yvan Muller to go quickest in an eventful second World Touring Car Championship practice session in Argentina.
As the frontrunners sliced well over a second off their lap times from this morning, Muller set the initial pace with a time of 1m46.979s before the session was red-flagged.
Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente had been the fastest of the privateer Chevrolet contingent until he suffered a brake failure at the end of the main straight, forcing him to downshift and buzz the engine to shed speed.
The car caught fire as it nudged into the barriers and suffered major damage; Valente was “quite pessimistic” about his prospects of making the races on Sunday.
Under green-flag conditions Ma Qing Hua eclipsed Muller’s time with a 1m46.833s, only to be displaced by a Lopez who was clearly exploring the limits of his C-Elysee’s dynamic envelope. Lopez then shaved a further fraction off his own best time with his final lap of 1m46.589s, 0.244 seconds quicker than Ma.
Only the Citroens lapped below the 1m47s mark. Tiago Monteiro was the quickest of the works Honda drivers once again, fourth fastest overall with a lap of 1m47.031s.
Rob Huff took his Lada Vesta by the scruff, fifth fastest with 1m47.442s in a session punctuated by spins and a near miss with a stray dog that had found its way onto the circuit.
Citroen drivers Mehdi Bennani and Sebastien Loeb improved on their times from the earlier session, but not by as much as their rivals, and they were split in the final rankings by Stefano D’Aste’s Chevrolet.
Likewise a number of drivers outside the top 10, including Gabriele Tarquini, Tom Chilton, Tom Coronel and Norbert Michelisz, improved their times by a second or more but it was not enough to gain them traction in the running order.
Touring car newcomer Gregoire Demoustier, slowest of all in this morning’s session, made good progress in the Craft-Bamboo Chevrolet, shaving almost three seconds off his previous best.
PRACTICE TWO TIMES:
|1||Jose Maria Lopez||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||1m 46.589s||–|
|2||Ma Qing Hua||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||1m 46.833s||0.244s|
|3||Yvan Muller||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||1m 46.979s||0.390s|
|4||Tiago Monteiro||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1m 47.031s||0.442s|
|5||Robert Huff||LADA Sport Rosneft||Lada||1m 47.442s||0.853s|
|6||Mehdi Bennani||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||1m 47.950s||1.361s|
|7||Stefano D’Aste||All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport||Chevrolet||1m 47.956s||1.367s|
|8||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||1m 47.976s||1.387s|
|9||John Filippi||Campos Racing||Chevrolet||1m 48.110s||1.521s|
|10||Hugo Valente||Campos Racing||Chevrolet||1m 48.128s||1.539s|
|11||Gabriele Tarquini||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1m 48.170s||1.581s|
|12||Tom Chilton||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet||1m 48.209s||1.620s|
|13||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet||1m 48.632s||2.043s|
|14||Norbert Michelisz||Zengo Motorsport||Honda||1m 48.648s||2.059s|
|15||Gregoire Demoustier||Craft-Bamboo Racing||Chevrolet||1m 48.850s||2.261s|
|16||Rickard Rydell||Nika International||Honda||1m 49.062s||2.473s|
|17||James Thompson||LADA Sport Rosneft||Lada||1m 49.134s||2.545s|
|18||Dusan Borkovic||Proteam Racing||Honda||1m 49.762s||3.173s|