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Aug 04, 2014 - 06:51 AM
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WTCC - Termas de Rio Hondo - Races
Posted by: newsla on Aug 04, 2014 - 06:49 AM
Sports Cars
WTCC - Termas de Rio Hondo - Races


The sun was blazing at the Autodromo Termas de Río Hondo, and the atmosphere hotted up further still when young Matias Rossi and his Citroën emerged victorious in the Turismo Nacional race held as a curtain raiser to the FIA WTCC.

 

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Shortly afterwards, José-María López lined up on pole position on the grid for race 1. When the red lights went out, he made the perfect start and hit the first corner in the lead, closely followed by Norbert Michelisz, who had got the better of Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb in the opening tussle. As the laps went by, the gaps widened, although Muller was constantly under threat from Loeb.

After thirteen laps completed at a pace worthy of a qualifying session, Pechito López delighted the 40,000 spectators by crossing the finish line as the winner! The two other Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs finished third and fourth, behind Michelisz.

A few minutes later, the cars lined up for race 2. With the top ten from qualifying starting in reverse order on the grid, this second race promised to be livelier than the first!

And true to form, there was turbulence in the pack from the off. Sébastien Loeb dropped back three places, having failed to execute his starting strategy properly, while Yvan Muller opted for a cautious approach amid the traffic. All this proved to be to the benefit of Pechito López, who fought his way through the field to end lap 1 in seventh place.

The three Citroën drivers then enthralled the crowd with an exhibition of overtaking manoeuvres. The prize for pugnacity must surely go to Yvan Muller, who spent nearly three whole laps locked in a shoulder-to-shoulder battle with Tom Chilton. Sébastien Loeb impressed too, moving past Norbert Michelisz, but the crowd’s favourite was, of course, José-María López, who passed Rob Huff to climb into the lead with five laps to go.

Pechito held that lead to the end, and, exhausted and emotional, was given a triumphant reception by his fans for his twin victories. He was joined on the podium by Yvan Muller, who once again finished third. Sébastien Loeb finished race 2 in sixth place.

WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY

Yves Matton, Team Principal, Citroën Racing: “This weekend has been one of the most emotional in the history of Citroën Racing. He might not have shown it much, but Pechito was under enormous pressure; he was desperate to do well in front of his home crowd. He dug deep and became the first driver this year to record a perfect score. Yvan did everything he could to stay with him, but the gap in the World Championship standings is widening. That is not to say the rest of the season won’t be interesting, however, as there are new circuits for us to discover. This has been a great day to round off a week spent with Citroën Argentina, engaging in various marketing operations that used motorsport to further the brand’s commercial aims.” »

José-María López: “Some people may find it a bit too corporate to start by thanking everyone, but that’s just what I feel like doing right now. Without my family and without Citroën, I wouldn’t be here. I am proud to be part of Citroën Racing, and to have Yvan and Seb as teammates. My wealth of experience on this circuit helped me a lot, but I was worried about the starts, which remain a weakness for me. Thankfully, this time, everything went OK! Race 2 was really exciting. The car just got quicker and quicker and I managed to work my way up the field into first place. It’s been a perfect weekend, and there’s no place I’d rather have produced a performance like that.”

Yvan Muller: “You should never give up, but I have to acknowledge that José was quicker than me this weekend. Once I realised that, I had to limit the damage and try not to fall too far behind in the World Championship. The team did a brilliant job and I did my best to exploit the car’s full potential. I found race 2 quite fun, particularly my battle with Chilton!”

Sébastien Loeb: “Fourth and sixth isn’t a dream result, but I can take plenty of positives out of this weekend. I managed to work my way through the pack, with a more combative approach and some nice overtaking manoeuvres. All this is great experience for me, as I’m now focusing first and foremost on 2015. I’m nearly 100 points adrift of Pechito, so I consider myself out of the running for the title.”

RESULTS: RACE 1
1. José-María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
2. Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC)
3. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
4. Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
5. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)
Fastest lap: José-María López (1’46’’456)

RESULTS: RACE 2
1. José-María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
2. Rob Huff (Lada Granta 1.6T)
3. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
4. Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Civic WTCC)
5. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)
6. Sébastien Loeb (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
Fastest lap: José-María López (1’45’’926)

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: DRIVER STANDINGS
1. José-María López: 310 points
2. Yvan Muller: 250 pts
3. Sébastien Loeb: 213 pts
4. Tiago Monteiro: 146 pts
5. Gabriele Tarquini: 121 pts

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: MANUFACTURER STANDINGS
1. Citroën Total: 686 points
2. Honda: 454 pts
3. Lada: 247 pts

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