Shanghai WTCC: Ma Qing Hua stays on top in second practice

Ma Qing Hua continued to be the fastest man of the day, topping the time sheets in the second free practice session this morning in Shanghai.

Shanghai WTCC: Ma Qing Hua stays on top in second practice
Sébastien Loeb, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, Citroën World Touring Car team
Rob Huff, Lada Vesta WTCC, Lada Sport Rosneft
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, Citroën Total WTCC
Ma Qing Hua, Citroën C-Elysee WTCC, Citroën World Touring Car team
Sébastien Loeb, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, Citroën World Touring Car team
Mehdi Bennani, Citroën C-Elysee WTCC, Sébastien Loeb Racing
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, Citroën Total WTCC

The Chinese driver was significantly faster than his Citroen teammates in the final practice before the qualifying session.

The weather remained sunny for the second practice, which was again a trouble free session for the drivers at Shanghai International circuit.

Jose Maria Lopez led in the initial stages of the session, followed by Munnich Motorsport’s Stefano D’Aste. But halfway through the session, Hua improved by over a second to set the best lap of 1m51.217s.

The Chinese Citron Racing's driver would remain unbeaten, with the Chevrolet RML contingent taking good advantage of their second and new set of tyres in the latter part of the session.

Craft Bamboo’s Gregoire Demoustier was second fastest, 0.604s behind Hua, and was followed by fellow Chevrolet RML drivers, the ROAL Motorsport pair formed by Tom Chilton and Tom Coronel.

Reigning champion Lopez was fifth, unable to improve his time on his final run and finishing the session over a second slower than Hua.

Hugo Valente was sixth, followed by Rob Huff, top man for Lada Sport. Sebastien Loeb was eighth, with John Filippi and Mehdi Bennani completing the top ten.

Honda struggled during the session, with Gabriele Tarquini being the fastest Civic WTCC around the circuit in 11th place, and was 1.634s off the pace. Championship contender Yvan Muller also had a difficult session, finishing in 12th.

Local hero Hua felt hopeful for the fight for the pole position: “It would be nice. We are still working on the balance, and we have small things to improve, but we are doing well.

"I don’t feel pressure from myself, but I will try to do my best to focus and do my job in the afternoon,” he added.

Qualifying for tomorrow’s races starts at 14:30 local time.

Tamara Aller / TouringCarTimes

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