Text: VJ Bacungan / Photos: FIA | posted April 23, 2014 14:04
Loeb and Lopez finish in podium positions despite technical violation
Citroen once again took the top spots in the 2014 World Touring Car Championship(WTCC) in LeCastallet, France, with Jose Maria Lopez, Sebastian Loeb and Yvan Muller respectively taking first, second and third overall.
Despite starting at the back row after race marshals found their cars had anomalous fuel cut-off valves, Loeb and Lopez were able to get on the podium in Races 1 and 2, respectively, at Circuit Paul Ricard. The violation also meant they lost all their points from the qualifying laps.
Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini was fourth, Chevrolet’s Hugo Valente was fifth and Tarquini’s teammate Tiego Monteiro got sixth place. Chevrolet’s Tom Chilton and Honda’s Mehdi Bennani got seventh and eighth, respectively, with Chevrolet’s Dusan Borkovic and Honda’s Norbert Michelisz rounding up the top ten.
In the manufacturer’s championship scores, Citroen got 186 points, while second-placer Honda got 103. Lada takes the bottom with 75 points.
The wet Race 1 ended with Muller in first and Loeb in second. Touring car veteran Tarquinigot third place, holding off Lopez in fourth.
“My start wasn’t really very good but, luckily, a number of opponents did not start very well either. In the first part of the race, I kept a quiet pace, as I didn’t know what the weather would be like and wanted to save my tires. In the second part I increased the rhythm a bit, as everything was under control,” Muller said.
By Race 2, the track had dried up and Citroen was able to clinch another 1-2 finish with Lopez in the lead followed by Muller, while Portugese racer Monteiro got third. Loeb finished the round in sixth due to difficulties he encountered after hitting a chicane tire wall.
“It has been a tough race, and I’m really happy because my car was perfect after we had made some technical adjustments after the first race. To take victory starting from the back of the grid it’s not something that happens very often. I knew I had to be cautious in the first laps, and this was the key to avoid the inevitable incidents,” Lopez said.