Norbert Michelisz headed Friday’s World Touring Car Championship test session in Vila Real, as Citroen’s Yvan Muller prevented a Honda one-two with the final lap of the session.
Michelisz and Muller traded fastest times early on in the half-hour before returning to the pits, with Muller’s Citroen teammate Jose Maria Lopez then propelling his C-Elysee to the top of the standings with his first timed lap. But on his return to the track, Muller, who remains without a win so far this season, leapt back to the top of the times with less than 10 minutes of the session remaining with a lap of 1m59.860s to secure a provisional Citroen one-two.
Rob Huff’s late improvement put paid to that as he went fastest by almost a second, before Honda team-mate Michelisz set his session-topping time, a 1m58.673s.
Muller set the fastest first sector with his final attempt, but wound up 0.087 seconds down in second, ahead of Huff and Lopez.
Lada pair Hugo Valente and Nicky Catsburg both made late leaps to fifth and sixth in their respective Vestas, bumping independent Citroen driver Tom Chilton down to seventh – the Brit having spent most of the session in the top five.
Home hero Tiago Monteiro was eighth in the third Honda Civic, 3.221s off teammate Michelisz’s pace, ahead of Polestar’s Thed Bjork and ROAL Motorsport driver Tom Coronel, who completed the top 10.
Robert Dahlgren, making his first appearance in the WTCC since 2011 after his swap with Fredrik Ekblom, was 14th in the second Polestar Volvo S60, while Daniel Nagy – making his WTCC debut in a second Zengo Motorsport Honda Civic – did not set a time.
|1||Norbert Michelisz||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1m58.673ss||1m58.673s||11|
|2||Yvan Muller||Citroen Racing||Citroen||1m58.760ss||0.087s||10|
|3||Rob Huff||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1m58.891ss||0.218s||12|
|4||Jose Maria Lopez||Citroen Racing||Citroen||1m59.960ss||1.287s||8|
|5||Hugo Valente||LADA Sport||Lada||2m00.962ss||2.289s||9|
|6||Nicky Catsburg||LADA Sport||Lada||2m01.010ss||2.337s||11|
|7||Tom Chilton||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||2m01.249ss||2.576s||11|
|8||Tiago Monteiro||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||2m01.894ss||3.221s||10|
|9||Thed Bjork||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo||2m02.441ss||3.768s||12|
|10||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet||2m02.478ss||3.805s||12|
|11||Gabriele Tarquini||LADA Sport||Lada||2m02.601ss||3.928s||11|
|12||John Filippi||Campos Racing||Chevrolet||2m03.413ss||4.740s||10|
|13||Mehdi Bennani||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||2m04.035ss||5.362s||10|
|14||Robert Dahlgren||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo||2m04.945ss||6.272s||11|
|15||Gregoire Demoustier||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||2m05.277ss||6.604s||12|
|16||James Thompson||Munnich Motorsport||Chevrolet||2m05.492ss||6.819s||12|
|17||Ferenc Ficza||Zengo Motorsport||Honda||2m06.426ss||7.753s||5|