Published on March 10th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) 2015 Argentina
Citroën’s José María López enjoyed a ‘very positive weekend’ in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) races in Argentina, taking the championship lead with a win and a second position. Having been third fastest in Friday’s first test, reigning champion López dominated Saturday by topping both free practice sessions and taking pole position in qualifying.
The Argentine then lead from the start in race one, taking victory to kick off his title defence in fine style. Faced with starting from tenth for race two, however, López’s task was much trickier. Unlike in 2014, when he took a brace of wins on home soil, López found himself unable to make his way to the very front and finished in second behind team-mate Sébastien Loeb after an eventful race. Pole, a win and a second gives the 31-year-old a five-point lead in the championship over Loeb.
“I’m happy, but it was really tough out in the cars in that heat!,” said López, who had to contend with temperatures of up to 38°C in the South American summer. “Race one went perfectly. I didn’t get a great start, but I managed to hold off Yvan. That gave me confidence going into the second race.”
In race two, López was up to seventh by the end of the opening lap, which became fourth by lap three. When team-mate Ma Qing Hua made a mistake and had to pit as a result, López moved up to third, before passing Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini for second on lap seven. Despite just having Loeb in front, the Argentine was unable to close the gap down to his team-mate and had to settle for second.
“I tried to be patient and bide my time before going after my rivals,” explained López. “Séb was really quick out front and I couldn’t get past him.
“In the end, five laps from the end, I decided to save the tyres a bit for what was a very good second place. But I have to congratulate Séb for a very good victory and all the people in the team. Congratulations to him on a great victory.
“It’s been a very positive weekend for the team, and for me too, because I leave here at the top of the World Championship standings!
“I scored lots of points, which is very good for the championship so I’m happy to deliver here and give the victory to the people. To have four wins from six meetings here is something amazing.”
Despite only taking the one win, compared to two at home in 2014, López still believes it was the perfect weekend and start to the season for him in Argentina.
“It’s a perfect weekend for me and for the team,” concluded López. “It’s the first race of the year and you never know what it’s going to be like with the other drivers, other teams and your team-mates.
“It was very important for me to do what I did here so it was a fantastic weekend. I knew it was going to be difficult to win two races like I did last year but I scored many points so I am happy with that.”
Top ten result
|1||9||Sébastien LOEB||Citroën Total WTCC||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||15||15 LAPS||1:46.708||8|
|2||37||José María LÓPEZ||Citroën Total WTCC||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||15||4.690||1:46.723||10|
|3||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||Castrol Honda WTC Team||Honda Civic WTCC||15||10.149||1:48.125||6|
|4||2||Gabriele TARQUINI||Castrol Honda WTC Team||Honda Civic WTCC||15||11.564||1:48.077||4|
|5||25||Y||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||15||14.956||1:47.516||12|
|6||5||Y||Norbert MICHELISZ||Zengő Motorsport||Honda Civic WTCC||15||17.948||1:48.771||17|
|7||33||MA Qing Hua||Citroën Total WTCC||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||15||19.697||1:47.558||7|
|8||3||Y||Tom CHILTON||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||15||21.338||1:48.557||5|
|9||19||Rickard RYDELL||Nika International||Honda Civic WTCC||15||30.607||1:49.861||16|
|10||11||Y||Grégoire DEMOUSTIER||Craft-Bamboo Racing||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||15||32.304||1:49.579||15|