Shanghai WTCC: Lopez wins as Citroen seals manufacturers' title

Jose Maria Lopez led an all-Citroen top three in Race 1 at Shanghai, as Citroen secured the WTCC manufacturers’ crown for the second year in a row.

At the start, both Ma Qing Hua and Hugo Valente stalled on the grid, and although miraculously everyone avoided the pair, Gabriele Tarquini and Rob Huff collided and both suffered broken suspension heading into Turn 1.

Campos Racing’s John Filippi also spun at the first corner, starting a chain reaction of drivers braking and trying to avoid each other, which saw both Chevrolets from ROAL Motorsport sustaining heavy damage.

The Safety Car was deployed and it stayed on for three laps, with the total race distance extended to 16 laps.

At the restart, Lopez pulled away, with Yvan Muller in second place, closely followed by Sebastien Loeb. Nicky Catsburg was fourth, with Mehdi Bennani immediately behind.

The incidents on the first lap allowed Ma and Valente to climb up the order. After the restart, the Frenchman overtook Honda’s Tiago Monteiro for 11th place, with the Chevrolet from Campos Racing also making a move on Stefano D’Aste in the following lap.

Gregoire Demoustier retired from the race on lap nine, whilst Catsburg, who was losing ground behind Loeb, focused on getting away from the C-Elysee of Bennani.

On lap 12, Norbert Michelisz, who had managed to climb to seventh place, went side by side with Nico Lapierre trying to overtake, but the Frenchman managed to defend his position.

Behind the pair, Ma suffered transmission problems, missing the braking point and almost collecting Michelisz under braking. The Chinese driver returned to the pits and retired.

The closing stages of the race saw Monteiro attack Valente and overtake for eighth place. Also, Lapierre was attacked by Michelisz, with the Hungarian overtaking and gaining sixth position on the last lap.

At the chequered flag, Lopez took his eighth win of the season, joined by teammates Muller and Loeb on the podium.

Catsburg was fourth, followed by Bennani, who was the winner in the Yokohama Trophy. Michelisz ended up sixth, with Lapierre, Monteiro, Valente and D’Aste completing the top 10.

Lopez gave all the credit for the result to his team: “Congratulations to everyone in Citroen Racing. To all who aren’t here, because everybody is part of this, and I’m very proud to be part of this team.

"I wasn’t aware of what happened behind me, I was trying to do my race and focus on my result.”

Valente, meanwhile, admitted that the starting incident was his fault: “I stalled on the grid, managed to get a good result and bring the car home, so we are going to be conservative now and continue to score points.”

Race two will immediately follow in today’s delayed programme.

Race results:

Pos. Driver Car Time/Gap
Jose María Lopez Citroen 33'21.641
Yvan Muller Citroen 2.428
Sebastien Loeb Citroen 3.379
Nicky Catsburg Lada 8.905
Mehdi Bennani Citroen 13.912
Norbert Michelisz Honda 16.774
Nicolas Lapierre Lada 17.394
Tiago Monteiro Honda 20.662
Hugo Valente Chevrolet 22.575
10  Stefano D'Aste Chevrolet 26.361
11  Ma Qing Hua Citroen 4 Laps
Gregoire Demoustier Chevrolet  
Gabriele Tarquini Honda  
Rob Huff Lada  
John Filippi Chevrolet  
Tom Chilton Chevrolet  
Tom Coronel Chevrolet  

Tamara Aller / TouringCarTimes

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Tom Coronel , Sébastien Loeb , Yvan Muller , Tom Chilton , Rob Huff , Jose Maria Lopez , Ma Qing Hua
Teams Citroën World Touring Car team , Zengo Motorsport , ROAL Motorsport , Honda Racing Team JAS
Article type Race report