Jose Maria Lopez has assured himself of a place in World Touring Car Championship history with a remarkable run to victory in the second race of the day at Paul Ricard from 18th on the grid.

The Argentinian came into the second round of the WTCC season with a slim advantage over Sebastien Loeb in the standings, but after qualifying second on the grid, technical irregularities would instead see him demoted to the back of the field for both races.

Recovering to fourth in a damp first race, Lopez would star in the drier second race, getting the jump on his Citroen team-mates Loeb and Yvan Muller to take charge before scything all the way up to first position and the win.

A remarkable achievement that is otherwise indicative of Citroen's advantage in WTCC at the moment, the former GP2 race winner was thrilled to hold onto his championship lead.

"Even when you start from pole position, winning is never easy. You can't imagine how thrilled I am to have won a race after starting from 18th on the grid! I made a cautious start, but I still managed to move up five or six places by the first corner.

"There were cars all over the place at the chicane and that's where I went past Yvan. That was the key to the race, as I would never have been able to get ahead in normal circumstances. I attacked to work my way up the field, but there were no low blows in the pack!

"Of course, the safety car helped me to make up ground on Tiago Monteiro, but sometimes you need a bit of luck to win."

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