Hungary WTCC: Lopez leads Citroen 1-2 in thrilling main race

Jose Maria Lopez turned around Citroen’s disastrous performance in the opening race when the French manufacturer failed to score points, to win main race ahead of teammate Yvan Muller.

Hungary WTCC: Lopez leads Citroen 1-2 in thrilling main race
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Yvan Muller, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Hugo Valente, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta
Nicky Catsburg, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Fredrik Ekblom, Polestar Cyan Racing, Volvo S60 Polestar TC1
Tom Chilton, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Tom Chilton, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC

The rain continued to fall between the two races, meaning tyre strategy was not as pressing as in the first race, with wets the only way to go for all competitors.

Honda had fixed local hero Norbert Michelisz’s car and he would start from last place after a turbo change, while Lopez kept the lead at the start from pole.

ROAL Chevrolet of Tom Coronel stayed second behind Lopez, while Muller had a superb start from seventh on the grid to be up at third by Turn 1.

The Frenchman soon slotted in at second which when Dutchman Coronel slid wide in the slippery conditions one corner later.

Rob Huff was third in the Honda, in effect where he’d started, while Honda teammate Tiago Monteiro was pushed out of fourth by opening race winner Mehdi Bennani’s Citroen.

But the stewards quick to hand the Moroccan a drive-through penalty, placing Portuguese Monteiro back to fourth.

The race was briefly raced behind the safety car as Gregoire Demoustier’s Citroen crashed out at Turn 1, and when the race resumed, Muller was now on the tail of teammate Lopez, fighting for the lead as they briefly pulled away.

And as the two Citroens battled on they were caught by Huff, who was able to pass Muller albeit through contact into Turn 3.

The stewards again frowned on the contact and handed Huff a drive-though penalty which dropped him down to ninth position, but the Briton would work his way back up to finish in sixth by the end of the race.

Meanwhile, Michelisz was working his way through the field and was up to sixth on the penultimate lap, but an opportunistic move whilst fighting SLR’s Tom Chilton for fifth didn't work.

The home hero, thus, slid through the gravel trap, rejoining in front of Coronel and sustaining damage, eventually crossing the line in tenth.

Lopez was left unchallenged for the final laps and took his third win of the season by 2.8 seconds ahead of Muller.

The Argentine now leads the championship standings by 12 points over Monteiro, who finished third on the podium ahead of Volvo’s Thed Bjork.

Main race results:

 PosDriver Car Time/Gap
 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 38'37.180 
 Yvan Muller Citroen 2.821
 Tiago Monteiro Honda 14.981
 Thed Bjork Volvo 18.026
 Tom Chilton Citroen 19.834
 Rob Huff Honda 24.535
 Tom Coronel Chevrolet 26.979
 Mehdi Bennani Citroen 27.898
 Hugo Valente Lada 36.557
10   Norbert Michelisz Honda 36.867
11   Fredrik Ekblom Volvo 42.681
12   John Filippi Chevrolet 50.959
13   Nicky Catsburg Lada 58.529
14   Ferenc Ficza Honda 1'13.924
15   Rene Munnich Chevrolet  
Ret  Gabriele Tarquini Lada  
Ret  Gregoire Demoustier Citroen  

Neil Hudson/TouringCarTimes

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