Lopez won pole position at home track
Jose Maria Lopez will start his home round of WTCC from pole position after he was fastest during qualifying session at Autodrom Termas de Rio Hondo. Argentinian, who is reigning WTCC champion, headed a Citroen dominance as the French team drivers took first four places. Yvan Muller was second, Sebastien Loeb third and Ma Qing Hua fourth, while Tiago Monteiro in Honda was fifth.
First round of qualifycations was surprising after Ron Huff in Lada set the fastest lap time, but he failed to repeat that in the second round. Gregoire Demoustier, John Filippi, Dusan Borkovic, Rickard Rydell and Norbert Michelisz, who lost his left front wheel, were eliminated after first round.
Ma Qing Hua closed out second round fastest of all in a factory Citroen 1-2-3 ahead of Lopez and Yvan Muller, but he over-committed on his fast lap in the third round shoot-out and will start race one from fourth on the grid.
With four Citroens in final round of qualifying, Monteiro couldn’t do anything so he will start as fifth. Lopez’s was dominant with 1.2 second margin, but he also had a touch of luck because his rival made too many errors.
“I don’t think anybody apart me did a clean lap. It’s not possible to have a gap of one second in third round of qualifying“, said Lopez after clinching pole position. Home crowd hero now have even more confidence and have excellent chance to open a new season with a victory.
Lap times in qualifying were slower than results in final practice session because of high temperature which went over 32C.
- Jose Maria Lopez (Citroen Total WTCC) 1:45.461
- Yvan Muller (Citroen Total WTCC) 1:46.701
- Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Total WTCC) 1:47. 061
- Ma Qing Hua (Citroen Total WTCC) 1:47.203
- Tiago Monteiro (Honda Racing Team JAS) 1:47.633
- Tom Chilton (ROAL Motorsport) 1:46.738
- Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Racing Team JAS) 1:46.967
- Stefano D’Aste (Munnich Motorsport) 1:47.120
- Tom Coronel (ROAL Motorsport) 1:48.322
- James Thompson (Lada Sport) 1:5165
- Robert Huff (Lada Sport) 1:5553
- Mehdi Benani (Sebastien Loeb Racing) –
- Dusan Borkovic (Proteam Racing) 1:48.443
- John Filippo (Campos Racing) 1:48.507
- Gregoire Demoustier (Craft Bamboo Racing) 1:49. 042
- Rickard Rydell (Nika International) 1:49.267
- Norbert Michelisz (Zengo Motorsport) –
- Hugo Valente (Campos Racing) –