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Argentina WTCC: Lopez fights hard to take home race win

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Argentina WTCC: Lopez fights hard to take home race win
Aug 7, 2016, 7:40 PM

Jose Maria Lopez won his home race at Termas de Río Hondo from pole position after a tough battle with early race leader Norbert Michelisz.

Polesitter José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, Tom Chilton, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, Yvan Muller, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC during MAC3 qualifying
Nicky Catsburg, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta, Hugo Valente, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta, Gabriele Tarquini, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta in MAC3 qualifying
Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC, Rob Huff, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC in MAC3 qualifying
Thed Björk, Polestar Cyan Racing, Volvo S60 Polestar TC1
Tiago Monteiro, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
Tom Chilton, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Gabriele Tarquini, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta
Grégoire Demoustier, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
John Filippi, Campos Racing, Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1

The Citroen driver finished comfortably ahead of ROAL Motorsport's Tom Coronel, with Rob Huff completing the podium for Honda.

Michelisz had a brilliant start in the Honda to got past Lopez, while Yvan Muller overtook Coronel for third.

Huff was now fifth ahead of teammate Tiago Monteiro and Sebastien Loeb Racing's Mehdi Bennani, while Esteban Guerrieri paid the price of a clutch issue and had a slow start from fifth, slipping down to eighth position.

Meanwhile, Lopez continued to attack Michelisz as Muller followed closely behind. The Argentinian tried to pass under braking after the back straight several times, and initially had pressure from his teammate, the two even briefly switching positions twice.

However, Lopez was soon told on the radio by the team not to worry about Muller, and therefore attacked for the lead.

The Hungarian put on a very good defensive drive until he was passed by both Lopez and Muller at the chicane on lap seven. The Honda driver tried to defend, but it played in the Argentinian's favour as he took the lead.

Michelisz had to cut the chicane and, at the following corner, both he and Muller flew into the gravel after having a light contact.

The Honda driver slipped down to eighth, while Muller lost three places and rejoined in fifth. Positions ahead steadied, with Coronel following Lopez from a safe distance with the two Hondas of Huff and Monteiro behind him.

Lopez eventually took victory ahead of Coronel, who also won the independents' classification, with Huff completing the podium.

Monteiro lost 13 points to championship leader Lopez as he finished fourth ahead, with Muller crossing the line fifth.

Guerrieri finished in sixth in the partly-repaired Campos Racing Chevrolet, with Bennani finishing seventh in the privateer Citroen ahead of early race leader Michelisz.

Opening race winner Tom Chilton finished ninth with Campos' John Filippi completing the top ten for the second race in succession.

Lopez's championship lead is now extended to 117 points over Monteiro, with Muller now moving up to third in the drivers' standings, just seven points behind Monteiro heading to the next round of the championship at Motegi in Japan on September 4th.

Main race results:

ClaDriverChassisLapsTimeGap
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroën 14 -  
2 Tom Coronel Chevrolet 14 2.032 2.032
3 Rob Huff Honda 14 2.583 2.583
4 Tiago Monteiro Honda 14 3.956 3.956
5 Yvan Muller Citroën 14 4.305 4.305
6 Esteban Guerrieri Chevrolet 14 8.740 8.740
7 Mehdi Bennani Citroën 14 9.126 9.126
8 Norbert Michelisz Honda 14 11.649 11.649
9 Tom Chilton Citroën 14 12.659 12.659
10 John Filippi Chevrolet 14 14.693 14.693
11 James Thompson Chevrolet 14 18.103 18.103
12 Nicky Catsburg LADA 14 18.523 18.523
13 Gabriele Tarquini LADA 14 20.205 20.205
14 Thed Björk Volvo 14 20.827 20.827
15 Grégoire Demoustier Citroën 14 24.046 24.046
16 Robert Dahlgren Volvo 14 24.931 24.931
17 Daniel Nagy Honda 14 37.987 37.987
  Hugo Valente LADA 8 6 laps 6 Laps

Pietro Casillo / TouringCarTimes

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About this article

Series WTCC
Event Termas de Rio Hondo
Location Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo