Reigning World Touring Car Championship Jose Maria Lopez will replace the Techeeta-bound Jean-Eric Vergne at DS Virgin for the third season of the Formula E championship.

The two-time WTCC champion is strong favourite to secure his third consecutive world title with Citroen this season as he holds a 101-point advantage with five rounds of the season remaining.

With Citroen confirming its withdrawal as a factory effort in WTCC at the end of the season, Lopez had been keen for a fresh challenge and is confident of a smooth transition having worked with the DS Performance brand through its Citroen ties.

DS Virgin Racing is the only team on the grid which runs Spark-Citroen machinery and the move maintains Lopez's links with the French manufacturer in his switch from WTCC to Formula E.

"This is a really exciting move for me and I'm looking forward to the challenge of Formula E with DS Virgin Racing," Lopez said. "I have already had some experience working with the DS Performance team on the season three car, so I am confident that we can achieve great things together next season.

"As a championship, Formula E is going from strength to strength and I'm particularly looking forward to going back to Buenos Aires where the team had such great success last season."

Lopez, who will team-mate Sam Bird at DS Virgin Racing, is seen as the logical choice after the Argentinian worked on the development of the all-electric DS car for season three.

DS Virgin Racing team principal Alex Tai is thrilled with the driver line-up and is confident of taking its charge to world champions Renault e.Dams after finishing third in the teams' standings last season.

"I'm absolutely delighted to announce our driver line up for next season and to welcome Jos? Mar?a to the DS Virgin Racing family," Tai said. "Jose is a proven world champion who has performed at the highest level and shown great speed and consistency in every motorsport discipline that he has competed in. I have every confidence that he will be able to translate that success to Formula E.

"He will join Sam who, over the last two years, has consistently proven himself to be one of the fastest and most talented drivers on the grid. I am confident the combined strengths of Sam, Jos? and our team will be a winning formula within a series requiring high degrees of driver skill, consistency and hard work."

Former DS Virgin Racing driver Vergne has left the team for the new Chinese outfit Techeeta which takes over from the departing Team Aguri.