Argentina WTCC: Peerless Lopez denies Huff, LADA famous win

Jose Maria Lopez thrills the home fans with his double WTCC win on home soil, but Rob Huff steals the headlines with second for LADA
CLICK HERE to view full WTCC Race 1 results

Jose Maria Lopez gave his adoring Argentinian fans exactly what they came to see as he battled his way from tenth on the grid to claim a second win of the day at Termas de Rio Hondo, in turn denying a historic win for LADA's Rob Huff.

Having dominated in race one, Lopez was still a cautious favourite for victory in race two even from row five, the superiority of the Citroen C-Elysee having proven itself time and again over the course of the 2014 WTCC season.

Indeed, though Honda and even LADA have shown a step forward in terms of pace this weekend, Lopez was simply unstoppable in his relentless charge up the order, bouncing back from some first lap rubbing amongst both rivals and team-mates to pick his way up the order.

Thrilling the home crowd as he marched through, though there was little doubt as to whom the fans wanted to win, Lopez's performance was arguably matched in terms of doggedness by an inspired Rob Huff, who gave LADA its first-ever WTCC podium after three seasons of trying with a true display of faultless driving.

Starting from pole position having finished a season-best seventh in race one, Huff got a strong getaway to lead into the opening bends from Mehdi Bennani, Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro.

From here, Huff had the measure of the Hondas behind him, steadily extending his advantage with every lap until Lopez eventually forced his way up to second place, the championship leader swiftly breaking down the gap and scything through on the long straight to take the lead on lap eight of 13.

Despite the inevitability of the result once Lopez has ascended, Huff's efforts were still good enough for second place, a truly remarkable result for the Russian manufacturer, which hadn't finished higher than fifth in any other season and has struggled to make the Granta work with the new regulations in 2014.

Another step towards the 2014 title for rookie Lopez, his cause was aided further by a fraught race for main rival Yvan Muller, who eventually finished in third place after spending much of his race in combat as Lopez breezed up the order in comparison.

Baulked by Norbert Michelisz early on, which allowed Lopez to go through and escape, Muller embarked on an entertaining tussle with a feisty Tom Coronel for several laps, which ultimately cost him the chance to catch Huff once he made it past the Hondas of Tarquini and Monteiro, who finished in fourth and fifth.

Sebastien Loeb in the third Citroen, meanwhile, also endured an eventful race, forcing Lopez onto the grass at the start before making contact with Muller on the first lap too. He was also involved in a fracas with Chilton, which led to the British driver running off track and picking up damage that would force him to retire.

After his second place finish in race one, Norbert Michelisz completed a fruitful day with a run to seventh, ahead of Dusan Borkovic, Mehdi Bennani and James Thompson, who added another point to his tally despite almost being turned around by Gianni Morbidelli early on, the Italian earning a drive-through for his troubles.

Tagged as: Lada , Citro├źn , Lopez

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing C-Elysee [pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing [pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing [pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing C-Elysee [pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Rob Huff - Munnich Motorsport Citroen C-Elysee
Medhi Bennani, Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen, WTCC [Credit: WTCC media]
Tom Chilton, Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen [Credit: XPB]
Gabriele Tarquini, Lada, Moscow [Credit: WTCC media]
Nicky Catsburg, Lada, WTCC [Credit: WTCC media]
Nicky Catsburg, Lada, WTCC [Credit: WTCC media]
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroen, [Credit: WTCC media]
Jose Maria Lopez - Citroen Racing [credit: Florent Gooden / DPP]
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroen, [Credit: WTCC media]
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Rob Huff - Castrol Honda Civic [credit: FIA WTCC Media]
Yvan Muller - Citroen Racing [credit: FIA WTCC Media]

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James Clark1

October 03, 2014 8:39 AM

The 2014 WTCC RACE KNOWN AS Goldenport Park Circuit TAKING PLACE FROM 4TH OCTOBER 2014 UP TO 5TH OCTOBER 2014 AT THE GOLDEN PORT CIRCUIT LTD., Jinzhanxiang, Chaoyang District, BEIJING AT 04:00 PM (ET). Watch It Live In HD Video & Smooth Audio Quality Without Any Buffering Problems Or Restrictions. LIVE HD STREAM HERE

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