Although most of the insiders had predicted Citroën’s domination in this year’s WTCC, not many of them had indicated José María López as the favourite for the Drivers’ Championship.
The Argentine driver had already impressed in the first half of the season, leading the standings from the opening race at Marrakech. However, by pocketing a full booty of points last weekend in his home event at Termas de Río Hondo, López has staked a very serious claim on the World Champion’s crown.
Should he eventually claim the title, he would be the second Argentine in history to become FIA World Champion after… Juan Manuel Fangio (1957) and the first South-American since Ayrton Senna (1991).
The relentless record
Lopez’s record during the current season has been relentless so far: seven wins out of fifteen races, five other podium results, four pole positions out of eight qualifying sessions, only one scoreless race (the second one at Moscow Raceway, due to a gearbox problem) and 38.75 points on the average per event, despite the cancellation of the Slovakia Ring’s second race because of torrential rain.
Should he continues on this pace, he may target new WTCC seasonal records for victories and points scored; both are currently held by Yvan Muller: nine race wins in 2012 and 433 points in 2011.
The real obstacle
Actually, the Frenchman appears to be the only real obstacle between López and the title, but race after race his task becomes more difficult, with a gap of sixty points to fill in the remaining four events.
Mathematically is possible, as 220 points are still at stake, but this means that Muller needs to recover more than 15 points at each of the next race meetings.
Considering that so far Muller has scored more points than López in three events only (France +11, Hungary +10 and Belgium +2), the odds are not in his favour…