Lopez quickest in Marrakech WTCC test
Citroen driver Jose Maria Lopez pipped teammate Yvan Muller in Friday's test session for the World Touring Car Championship round in Marrakech.
The Citroens all swapped the top spot on the timesheets during the 30-minute practice session, the only track activity today at the Moroccan circuit.
First Sebastien Loeb Racing's Mehdi Bennani shined in front of his home crowd to grab P1, before Lopez put the factory Citroen C-Elysee ahead on his second flying run.
The times kept falling as the dust began to clear, with the WTCC cars only the second series to hit the track so far this weekend.
With just under ten minutes to go, it was four-time champion Muller who put his Citroen on top, with Mehdi Bennani impressing again with a time just under five-hundredths of a second slower.
A yellow flag at Turn 4 spoiled a lot of drivers' runs in the final minutes, but it was cleared up just in time for reigning champion Lopez to put in one final run and be the only driver to set a time in the 1:44s with a time of 1:44.834.
A quick lap from Frenchman Hugo Valente in the Chevrolet RML Cruze put the 22-year-old fourth and best of the rest behind the Citroens.
The Campos Racing driver is competing with a new development engine this weekend, but as a result will incur a ten-place grid penalty.
Ma Qing Hua was fifth fastest in the relatively event-less session, with Ma having a quiet spin early on but suffering no damage in his Citroen.
Tiago Monteiro was the fastest Honda driver in sixth, just over a second off of Lopez's ultimate pace, with the Citroen of Loeb, the ROAL Chevrolet of Tom Coronel, and the two Hondas of Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz completing the top ten.
The best placed of the Lada drivers was Rob Huff, who finished the session 12th, while all 18 drivers entered for the weekend taking part in the session, with only the NIKA Racing Honda of Rickard Rydell absent after the Swede withdrew from the race yesterday due to a virus.
|1||Jose Maria Lopez||Citroen||1'44.834||11|
|5||Ma Qing Hua||Citroen||1'45.867||1.033||12|
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes
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