Lopez takes WTCC season opener in Citroen 1-2-3

The reigning champion has started where he left off in 2014 ... On top.

Lopez takes WTCC season opener in Citroen 1-2-3
Qualifying top three, Jose Maria Lopez, Yvan Muller, Sébastien Loeb, Citroën Total WTCC
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, Yvan Muller, Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Jose Maria Lopez, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, Citroën Total WTCC
Tom Chilton, Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1, ROAL Motorsport
Hugo Valente, Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1, Campos Racing
Tom Coronel, Cevrolet RML Cruze TC1, Roal Motorsport

José María López has made the best possible start to the new FIA World Touring Car Championship season by winning the opening race in Argentina.

The home hero overcame an early challenge from Citroën team-mate Yvan Muller to claim a standout victory in ambient temperatures of 34 degrees centigrade.

Citroen goes unchallenged

Roared by an estimated 40,000 fans, López beat Muller and fellow Citroën driver Sébastien Loeb with Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini fourth and fifth respectively for Honda.

Norbert Michelisz charged through from the back of the grid to top the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy category with Ma Qing Hua next up after the Chinese driver’s Citroën was slow away. Tom Chilton, Stefano D’Aste and Rickard Rydell completed the top 10 with Dušan Borković 11th, Grégoire Demoustier 12th and Mehdi Bennani 13th after the Moroccan was handed a drive-through penalty following a clash with LADA driver Rob Huff. Tom Coronel completed the finishers after pitting with a mechanical glitch.

Issues

James Thompson retired with a damaged right-rear wheel at the end of opening lap. John Filippi was also out after the first tour with damage to his front-left wheel, while team-mate Hugo Valente crashed out of 14th on lap five and inflicted substantial damage to the front of his Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 for the second day in a row. Valente, who was nursing a sore thumb afterwards, again blamed the incident on a brake issue.

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A successful premiere for Mehdi Bennani and the Sébastien Loeb Racing !

A successful premiere for Mehdi Bennani and the Sébastien Loeb Racing !
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