Jose Maria Lopez paid huge credit to his race engineer for adapting his Citroen C-Elysee WTCC car to the changing Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo track as he grabbed pole position by over 1.2 seconds.

The reigning World Touring Car champion entered the Q3 shootout joined by his three Citroen Racing team-mates and Honda driver Tiago Monteiro but blew them all away with a hot lap of 1m 45.461s. Lopez will start race one in pole position and big favourite to claim the first race victory of the new WTCC season, before reverting to P10 for the reserved grid line-up in race two.

"Who wouldn't be happy to start the season like that," Lopez beamed. "It wasn't easy, and we have worked hard on the setup of the cars since Friday morning. Special thanks go to my engineer, who was very quick to react to the changes in the track. We'll have to start all over tomorrow to get the best possible result. Of course it would be special to win. There's nothing quite like winning on your home patch but I feel under a lot less pressure than last year."

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