Shanghai, FP1, FP2 : Volvo strikes first
Both Bjork and Ekblom dominate the two sessions
Thed Björk has set the pace in Free Practice 1 at FIA WTCC Race of China this morning, lapping the 4.603-kilometre Shanghai International Circuit in a time of 1m51.838s in his factory Volvo S60 Polestar TC1.
World champion José María López was second for Citroën, 0.201s adrift, with the Argentine’s team-mate Yvan Muller third.
Norbert Michelisz was the quickest works Honda driver in fourth with Fredrik Ekblom fifth for Volvo followed by LADA’s lead driver Nicky Catsburg. Gabriele Tarquini and Rob Huff with WTCC Trophy title contenders Tom Chilton and Mehdi Bennani completing the top 10 for Sébastien Loeb Racing.
Polestar Cyan Racing’s Fredrik Ekblom marked his return to the FIA World Touring Car Championship in style with the fastest time in Free Practice 2 at WTCC Race of China.
Driving a Volvo S60 Polestar TC1, Ekblom clocked a best lap of 1m51.400s around the 4.603-kilometre Shanghai International Circuit, which compared favourably to the 1m51.999s effort from his team-mate Thed Björk in Free Practice 1 earlier this morning.
“We learned quite a few things,” said Ekblom, whose last WTCC race outing was in Russia in early June. “We tried some new stuff on the car but above all we had some better tyres for my sake and that made difference. I don’t have a lot of experience on this track but the car felt good, it was quick on the straight, it turns good and the traction is okay. Also, it’s quite warm so the long straight is a good time to relax a little bit.”
WTCC Trophy contender John Filippi had been on course to top the session in his Campos Racing Chevrolet before Ekblom’s late effort demoted him to second. Björk continued Polestar Cyan Racing’s strong start to its ‘home’ event in third with Mehdi Bennani fourth, Tom Coronel fifth, Tiago Monteiro sixth for Honda, Tom Chilton seventh and Norbert Michelisz eighth.
Gabriele Tarquini was the fastest of the works LADA driver in ninth with world champion José María López P10 for Citroën.
|1||Thed Bjork||Polestar Cyan||Volvo||1:51.999|
|2||Jose Maria Lopez||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||1:52.200|
|3||Yvan Muller||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||1:52.346|
|4||Norbert Michelisz||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1:52.557|
|5||Fredrik Ekblom||Polestar Cyan||Volvo||1:52.562|
|6||Nicky Catsburg||LADA Sport||Lada||1:52.649|
|7||Gabriele Tarquini||LADA Sport||Lada||1:52.758|
|8||Rob Huff||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1:52.917|
|9||Tom Chilton||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||1:53.016|
|10||Mehdi Bennani||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||1:53.258|
|11||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet||1:53.388|
|12||Hugo Valente||LADA Sport||Lada||1:53.399|
|13||John Filippi||Campos Racing||Chevrolet||1:53.580|
|14||Tiago Monteiro||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1:53.682|
|15||James Thompson||Munnich Motorsport||Chevrolet||1:53.737|
|18||Grégoire Demoustier||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||1:55.612|
|1||Fredrik Ekblom||Polestar Cyan||Volvo||1:51.400|
|2||John Filippi||Campos Racing||Chevrolet||1:51.867|
|3||Thed Bjork||Polestar Cyan||Volvo||1:51.924|
|4||Mehdi Bennani||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||1:51.956|
|5||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet||1:52.257|
|6||Tiago Monteiro||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1:52.298|
|7||Tom Chilton||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||1:52.420|
|8||Norbert Michelisz||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1:52.486|
|9||Gabriele Tarquini||LADA Sport||Lada||1:52.498|
|10||Jose Maria Lopez||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||1:52.604|
|11||Nicky Catsburg||LADA Sport||Lada||1:52.606|
|12||James Thompson||Munnich Motorsport||Chevrolet||1:52.817|
|13||Yvan Muller||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||1:52.827|
|14||Rob Huff||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||1:52.955|
|15||Hugo Valente||LADA Sport||Lada||1:53.754|
|16||Grégoire Demoustier||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||1:53.828|
More on WTCR