Qatar, FP2: Michelisz inside track record
Guerrieriand Catsburg just behind
Norbert Michelisz’s WTCC Race of Qatar continues to get better after the FIA World Touring Car Championship title contender again proved to be the driver to beat in free practice at the Losail International Circuit.
After topping Free Practice 1 earlier this evening with a margin of 0.211s, his fastest time in Free Practice 2 tonight was 0.702s quicker than his second-placed factory Honda team-mate Esteban Guerrieri and inside the circuit lap record.
Behind Guerrieri, Nicky Catsburg was third fastest for Polestar Cyan Racing followed by Thed Björk, the leader of the world championship by 6.5 points, Rob Huff and WTCC Trophy title pacesetter Tom Chilton.
The 45-minute session was brought to a halt shortly after it began when a collision between Zsolt Dávid Szabó and Yann Ehrlacher left the former’s Honda stranded on track with damage and the latter’s nursing a delaminated tyre.
Dániel Nagy, Szabó’s Zengő Motorsport team-mate, was also involved: his switch to the left approaching Turn 6 triggered the chain reaction that led to Szabó and Ehrlacher colliding. Although Ehrlacher was able to resume his session following repairs to set the ninth fastest time for RC Motorsport, Szabó was unable to rejoin the action.
Former ETCC champion Kris Richard was the fastest of the Chevrolet Cruze drivers in P12 but his running was again curtailed by mechanical problems. Ryo Michigami, who was seventh fastest, parked his Honda on the exit of Turn 3 just as the chequered flag came out after he ran out of fuel.
Mehdi Bennani was eighth quickest with returning four-time world champion Yvan Muller P11. “I focused on doing a long run during the session,” said the Frenchman.
Qualifying is up next from 14h30 local time tomorrow (Friday).
More on WTCR