Superb Lopez Denies Hondas in Moscow Qualifying

by Peter Allen
Jose Maria Lopez - Photo Credit: Citroen Racing Media

A fine performance from Jose Maria Lopez denied a rejuvenated Honda team in qualifying for the Russian round of the World Touring Car Championship at Moscow Raceway.

The Argentinian’s third pole position of the season came after his Citroen team-mates had struggled to match the pace of the Civics. Yvan Muller was eliminated in Q2, managing only sixth, while Sebastien Loeb finished up fourth in the pole position shootout, out-paced by Honda factory drivers Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro.

Lopez, who ran last in Q3 after topping the previous session, managed to go nearly a second quicker than Loeb, and 0.226 seconds faster than second-placed Tarquini.

Tom Chilton made it to Q3 in his Chevrolet and will start fifth ahead of Muller. The privateer Hondas of Mehdi Bennani and Norbert Michelisz will share row four, with Ma Qing Hua ninth on his debut in the fourth Citroen.

Hugo Valente claimed tenth and the race two pole position, with fellow Chevrolet drivers Rene Munnich and Dusan Borkovic rounding out the Q2 runners.

Tom Coronel was knocked out in Q1, along with the three Ladas on home soil of Rob Huff, Mikhail Kozlovskiy and James Thompson.

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