WTCC champion-elect Jose Maria Lopez admits he will be taking a measured approach to this weekend's Thailand round in order to ensure he is crowned champion.
Only his worst weekend on record will stop Lopez from wrapping up his second drivers’ title at the Buriram circuit, with only Citroen teammate Yvan Muller mathematically able to close the gap before the season’s end.
With 75 points to make up on Lopez, Muller would need to close the gap by at least five points throughout qualifying and the first race, and then by over 20 points over the whole weekend in order to keep any chance of the title alive heading to the season finale in Qatar.
“Obviously, I’m really looking forward to this meeting,” said Lopez. “I have prepared well and I know how many points I need to score to become world champion.
"Of course, whenever I get into my Citroen I’m aiming for the best possible result, but this weekend, my sole objective will be to secure the title.
“It would be great to do it with a win, but I’ll be trying to stay out of the in-race battles to make sure I get the points I still need. I’ll be battling with myself rather than against my competitors.”
Muller, never one to exaggerate his chances, admits the odds are against him and his target is just to do his best during the weekend and see what happens.
“Mathematically, I’m still in with a shot in the title race," said the Frenchman, "but realistically, I don’t think it’s going to happen.
“I would have to produce two perfect weekends and hope that Pechito [Lopez] went virtually pointless… it seems a little far-fetched.
"Above all, I will be trying to enjoy myself, to perform well and to win some more races.”