Jose Maria Lopez has taken a potentially pivotal stride towards the 2014 World Touring Car Championship title at his first attempt after producing a perfect maximum score in ideal surroundings around the Termas de Rio Hondo.
Under immense pressure to perform on his return to Argentinian soil having established himself as the driver to beat in the WTCC this season, Lopez didn't disappoint, shrugging off the expectations to claim pole position and two race wins.
Coming a year after winning at the same circuit in a privateer BMW during a one-off outing – which in turn tempted Citroen to sign him full-time in 2014 -, Lopez has proven the class of the field this year, out-performing multiple title-winning team-mate Yvan Muller.
Indeed, though Lopez – who has now moved 60 points clear in the overall standings - admits he perhaps benefitted from local knowledge, he still had to overcome his own demons to prevail.
“Some people may find it a bit too corporate to start by thanking everyone, but that's just what I feel like doing right now,” he said. “Without my family and without Citroën, I wouldn't be here. I am proud to be part of Citroën Racing, and to have Yvan and Seb as teammates.
“My wealth of experience on this circuit helped me a lot, but I was worried about the starts, which remain a weakness for me. Thankfully, this time, everything went OK!
“Race 2 was really exciting. The car just got quicker and quicker and I managed to work my way up the field into first place. It's been a perfect weekend, and there's no place I'd rather have produced a performance like that.”