WTCC France: Last to first for flying Lopez

Jose Maria Lopez charges from last to first to lead a Citroen 1-2 at Paul Ricard ahead of Yvan Muller.
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  • Jose Maria Lopez claims his second WTCC win of the season from last on the grid
  • The Argentinian benefits from an early skirmish to leapfrog team-mates and climb to the front
  • Muller follows in third place, ahead of Tiago Monteiro

Jose Maria Lopez has showcased the sheer dominance of his Citroen Racing team in World Touring Cars as he came from last place on the grid to win comfortably at Paul Ricard.

The Argentinian started at the back after failing a technical check, but having fought his way up to fourth in race one, was in better form in race two, albeit aided by a lap one tangle up front that helped him jump his team-mates.

Tom Chilton was the cause of the skirmish after he tipped Gianni Morbidelli into a spin in the mid-field, scattering the following cars, including Yvan Muller and Sebastien Loeb. With Lopez moving ahead of them, he led the trio as they attempted to scythe through the pack.

Proving once more than Citroen has a performance advantage over its main Honda and Chevrolet rivals, Lopez was already up to second place when the safety car was called, ruining the lead Tiago Monteiro had built up having led from the start.

When the race restarted, Lopez quickly assumed control and, shadowed by Muller, cruised to the finish line for his second WTCC win of the season.

Finishing almost eight seconds further back, despite a second safety car, Monteiro clung onto third place for Honda, ahead of Civic counterparts Gabriele Tarquini and Mehdi Bennani.

Sebastien Loeb laboured to sixth place after an eventful race that saw him get involved in several incidents, including tapping Muller into a half-spin early on before being responsible for the first safety car when he collected tyres placed on the apex of a bend, the latter leaving him with substantial front-end damage.

Dusan Borkovic, Nortbert Michelisz, Morbidelli – recovering after his early spin – and Hugo Valente picked up the remaining points from seventh to tenth respectively. Chilton, meanwhile, was penalised for his part in Morbidelli's spin, the ROAL driver given a drive-thru penalty.

In TC2, Franz Engslter recovered from being punted into a spin by John Filippi to beat Pasquale di Sabatino for a fourth straight win.

Tagged as: Citroën , Lopez

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing C-Elysee [pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Yvan Muller - Citroen Racing
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing
Rickard Rydell - NIKA Honda Civic
Gregoire Demoustier (FRA), Craft-Bamboo Chevrolet, WTCC [Credit: Craft-Bam]
Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), Castrol Honda, WTCC [Credit: Castrol Honda PR]
Sabine Schmitz (GER), Munnich Motorsport, WTCC [Credit: WTCC]
Lada Vesta TC1 WTCC, testing, WTCC [Credit: Lada Sport]
John Filippi - Campos Chevrolet Cruze
Gregoire Demoustier - Craft-Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze
Gregoire Demoustier - Craft-Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze
Stefano D`Aste - Munnich Chevrolet Cruze
Stefano D`Aste - Munnich Chevrolet Cruze
Tom Coronel - ROAL Chevrolet

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