Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: FIA WTCC | posted October 28, 2014 11:32
Lopez turns out to be unexpected 2014 WTCC Champion
Jose Maria Lopez and Gabriele Tarquini emerged victorious in rounds 21 and 22 of the 2014 FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) in Suzuka, Japan.
Citroen's Lopez managed to secure his first WTCC title after a solid driving performance in race one. He was welcomed in victory lane by Argentine music and flags. Moreover, Lopez's mechanics were wearing Argentina's national football team's shirts.
Lopez is regarded as the unexpected 2014 WTCC Champion being the least experienced of the field.
“As they say in France: ‘Chapeau!’ One can only take his cap off and bow in front of such an achievement. What Lopez has done, in his first full WTCC season, working in an environment completely new to him, not knowing most of the circuits, is simply impressive,” said Tiago Monteiro, Castrol Honda driver.
The Argentine driver took advantage of his pole position as he took a good start and maintaned his lead until the chequered flag. Battling for second were Tom Chilton and Hugo Valente who were both onboard a Chevrolet vehicle. Valente was able to overtake Chilton in the early stages and bound to keep the position before being passed by Chilton, Sebastien Loeb and Norbert Michelisz in the penultimate lap.
The second race was a delightful event for Japanese fans as Tarquini, who was driving a Honda Civic, finished ahead of the pack. Finishing behind Tarquini were Dusan Borkovic who was onboard a Chevrolet Cruze and Norbert Michelisz who was driving a Honda Civic. Coronel finished in fourth and the three Citroen cars of Muller, Lopez and Loeb were not able to take top positions.
Rounds 23 and 24 of the 2014 WTCC will be held at Circuito da Guia in Macau on November 13 to 16.