S?bastien Loeb topped the time charts at the pre-event testing for the World Touring Car Championship season opener in Argentina.

The nine-time World Rally champion notched up a hot lap of 1m 54.132s at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo track in his Citroen C-Elysee WTCC car, with team-mate Yvan Muller 0.276s down.

Despite Loeb topping the timesheets it should be noted that his time was more than 10 seconds off reigning WTCC champion Jose Maria Lopez's qualifying record set last year. This was due to a damp and slightly unpredictable track after overnight rain.

L?pez made it a Citro?n top-three lockout, 0.699s behind Loeb while Tiago Monteiro was the fastest Honda driver in fourth. Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua was fifth and Sebastien Loeb Racing Team driver Mehdi Bennani was sixth.

Hugo Valente topped the Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 runners in seventh, while James Thompson ranked as the fastest LADA Vesta driver in eighth on the car's first public outing. Tom Chilton and Du?an Borkovi completed the top 10.

The next track activity is Free Practice 1 at 08:45AM local time - 11:45AM GMT - on Saturday.



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