Johan Kristoffersson ended free practice at the Nurburgring Nordschleife at the top of the time sheets for Sebastien Loeb Racing. In stark contrast to the rest of the season thus far, Volkswagen appeared to be the strongest package in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) around the famous German circuit, with Rob Huff ending up second fastest too.
Kristofferson’s lap time of 8:57.185 was enough to edge him eight tenths of a second clear of Huff in session two, and overall. Niels Langeveld was the best of the rest outside of Volkswagen, finishing third fastest after the second session. It wasn’t all good news for the Dutchman though, as his Audi took substantial damage from a crash on the exit of the Mini Carousel during the final lap of practice.
Other than that, there was very little disruption during practice, with most drivers able to keep it on the tarmac. Nestor Girolami was the fourth and final racer to creep under the nine minute threshold with a lap time of 8:59.773 in session two.
Behind the Argentine, the Hyundai duo of Nicky Catsburg and Norbert Michelisz found themselves as the fifth and sixth fastest cars on the circuit respectively.
Esteban Guerrieri was second fastest in the opening session, but failed to make further progress in session two. The current leader of the championship points standings therefore finished practice in a respectable seventh overall, but a better performance in qualifying shouldn’t be ruled out.
Jean-Karl Vernay was another driver who performed better in session one than session two, with his lap time of 9:00.568 being good enough for eighth place overall. Close behind Vernay, Benjamin Leuchter ended up ninth overall. The VLN veteran put his knowledge of the circuit to good use to make it three Volkswagens in the top ten during practice, while Augusto Farfus also squeezed in in tenth to make it a trio of Hyundai too.
Practice was far from plain sailing for top contenders, Cyan Racing and their quartet of Lynk & Co cars. Thed Bjork managed to put together a somewhat fast lap by the end of practice, however the team do certainly appear to be on the back foot compared to their rivals.
In the first session, yellow flags were waved at the start of the Grand Prix loop due to Andy Priaulx‘s car grinding to a halt on pit exit. Priaulx therefore couldn’t get any mileage under his belt until the second session, but even then he was a full ten seconds slower than Kristofersson. Yvan Muller also suffered a fault with his gearbox, and struggled for top end lap times.
Qualifying is set to get underway later this afternoon due to the busy schedule surrounding the Nurburgring 24 Hour race, which also happens to be taking place this weekend.