Sébastien Loeb took the victory in Race 1 at the Slovakia Ring - his second win of 2014.
Sébastien Loeb took his second WTCC win in a dramatic Race 1 at the Slovakia Ring that had to be neutralized with the safety-car in lap 7 because of the heavy rain and was red-flagged two laps later.
The Frenchman benefitted from an excellent start from P2 on the grid to overtake team-mate and poleman José María López.
A faultless race by the two, despite the conditions, gave Citroën another 1-2. Third was Norbert Michelisz (Honda) ahead of the Chevrolet RML cars of Coronel, Chilton and Morbidelli, with the Honda cars of Monteiro and Tarquini right behind.
Rob Huff took the points of ninth for LADA and Yvan Muller finished tenth after having to serve a drive-through for jump start. In his first real WTCC appearance, Petr Fulín (Campos Racing) imposed his SEAT among TC2 cars, after John Filippi went into the gravel during the safety-car period.
Formation lap - Kozlovskiy experiences an oil leak and pits; it will not start
Start – Loeb kicks off better and takes the lead ahead of López, Michelisz, Muller (who will get a drive-through for jumping the start), Chilton, Coronel, Morbidelli and Huff.
Lap 1 – Engstler and Thompson go out at turn 1 but continue.
Lap 3 – Muller serves the drive-through and rejoins 14th. Borković goes side-ways at turn 6 and Bennani goes wide to avoid him.
Lap 4 – Fulín passes Di sabatino and takes the lead in TC2. Borković is again off at T6 with some body damage in the rear left.
Lap 5 – López is now getting closer to Loeb; Muller passes Bennani for 13th. Coronel passes Chilton for 4th after a short fight. Filippi passes Di Sabatino for 2nd in TC2 and shortly after takes the lead from Fulín. Also Engstler passes Di Sabatino.
Lap 6 – Valente is suffering aquaplaning on the straight. Huff attacks Tarquini for 8th.
Lap 7 – As rain increases, the safety-car is deployed.
Lap 8 – Filippi stops in the pits after an excursion into the gravel.
Lap 9 – The race is red-flagged and will not resume.
Sébastien Loeb: “I am happy of winning after a difficult start of the weekend. I did not think it was possible to make it to row one on the grid, but that proved essential on a day like this. I took a better start than Pechito and then it was a matter of staying on the track and using the advantage of better visibility. It was really raining a lot and conditions were changing from lap to lap in almost every corner. I think it was a good decision to stop the race, as it was becoming really wet and risky and we would have probably lost three quarters of the grid before the finish.”
José María López: “I am not unhappy with second, as it is an excellent result towards the championship situation and consistency throughout the season will be key. For sure, I did not take a good start. I didn’t do a real mistake, it was simply not a good start and maybe this is my weakest point, something I have to work on. In the race, Seb was faster in some portions and me in others, but in such conditions you couldn’t do much.It was wise to stop the race.”
Norbert Michelisz: “I am happy to be on the podium for the first time this season. I think we did a big step forward after Budapest, thanks to the testing sessions at the Hungaroring after the race weekend, and this is starting to pay off. I had a good start and could pass Yvan, I even passed López but getting to the first braking, I decided to play it safe because it was very difficult to understand where the limit was in these conditions.Actually, I played safe for the entire race…”
Petr Fulín: “It’s quite a busy weekend for me, racing both in the WTCC and the ETCC, with different cars, but it is definitely nice to find myself on the podium in both series. The race was ok for 3-4 laps, then it was really difficult, one had the impression to be a passenger on highway…”