WTCC: Lopez wins pole position in Portugal
Citroen driver Jose Maria Lopez claimed pole position for the World Touring Cars Championship race at Vila Real street circuit in Portugal. Citroen driver and championship leader was unbeatable during whole session and after impressive performance get a chance to increase advantage in the overall standings as his main rival Yvan Muller underachieved.
For a long time during the first round of qualifying fastest was Sebastien Loeb, but at the end Jose Maria Lopez was on top with a lap time 1:59.393. First round was red-flagged for short because an additional ventilator stayed on Yvan Muller’s Citroen C-Elysee.
It was really bad session for Chevrolet drivers as five were elminated in the first round – Gregoire Demoustier, John Filippi, Tom Coronel, Stefano D’Aste and Tom Chilton. Last one who stayed out of Q2 was Rob Huff in Lada Vesta.
Second round was also red-flagged after Nestor Girolami’s Honda Civic WTCC stopped on the track. After 15 minutes, session was resumed with 12 minutes to go. Mehdi Bennani was forced to retire after serious damage on rear right and he was out of Q3 together with Girolami, Muller, Jaap van Lagen, Nick Catsburg, Tiago Monteiro and Ma Qing Hua who won reverse pole position for race two on Sunday.
“Pechito” Lopez was the fastest again beating Sebastien Loeb, while the other three drivers qaulified for Q3 were Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz in Hondas and Hugo Valente in Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1.
Last round confirmed Lopez’s supremacy. Reigning champion set the fastest lap time 1:58.515 and won the pole position ahead of his teammate Sebastien Loeb. Hugo Valente will start from third, Norbert Michelisz is fourth, while Tarquini dropped to fifth after mistake he made in the last round.
First race at Vila Real starts on Sunday 12:45 CET, while the race two starts 18:15 CET.