Citroën widens the gap
After two fifth-place finishes, José María López remains 101 points ahead of the rest in the Drivers’ standings.
The Citroën C-Elysée WTCCs rounded off the European portion of the FIA WTCC season with a handy collection of points finishes in the streets of Vila Real. Runner-up spots for Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton mean Citroën has further extended its lead at the top of the Manufacturers’ World Championship. After two fifth-place finishes, José María López remains 101 points ahead of the rest in the Drivers’ standings.
Under a blazing sun, the FIA competitors lined up on the starting grid for the opening race in mid-afternoon. The first few hundred metres were decisive.
Tom Chilton got away well from the second row, snatching second place in his SLR team Citroën C-Elysée WTCC. José María López also climbed a place to fifth, just behind Mehdi Bennani. Yvan Muller remained ninth.
We are satisfied to come away from Vila Real having increased our lead in the World Championship.
Throughout the thirteen laps, the number of overtaking manoeuvres could be counted on the fingers of one hand, and the Citroëns crossed the finish line in exactly the same positions. Thanks to Chilton and Bennani, Citroën scored forty points out of a possible forty-three to add to its Manufacturers’ World Championship tally.
After a short break, the main race got under way. Yvan Muller got a good start from the front row, but not good enough to sneak past Tiago Monteiro on the first bend. José María López remained fifth, behind Michelisz and Huff.
Tightly bunched together, the front five pulled away from the rest of the field, without being in a position to overtake one another. Yvan kept his eyes open for the slightest error from the leader, but there was to be no change to the race order and Citroën C-Elysée WTCC n°68 finished second, less than a second behind the winner. After losing ground on the men ahead of him in mid-race, Pechito López once again took the points for fifth place.
After this seventh weekend of the season, then, Citroën has extended its advantage in the Manufacturers’ World Championship by ten points. In the Driver’s standings, José María López continues to enjoy a healthy lead. His nearest rival is now Tiago Monteiro, who is some 101 points adrift.
The next round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship will take place in Pechito’s homeland! Hostilities will resume on 6 and 7 August at the Termas de Río Hondo circuit in Argentina.
What they had to say
Yves Matton (Team Principal, Citroën Racing): “We are satisfied to come away from Vila Real having increased our lead in the World Championship. I just find it regrettable that the street circuits visited by the WTCC are devoid of overtaking opportunities. It means the races aren’t much of a spectacle for those watching live or on television. As regards our drivers, Yvan produced a very solid weekend on a circuit that requires a lot of commitment. That gives him good momentum going into the overseas rounds. For Pechito, Q3 put paid to his chances of a better overall result from the weekend. Given his starting positions, he scored as many points as he could. Congratulations to Tom Chilton, too. He has made noticeable progress since the Nürburgring and he is now able to exploit his potential, and the car’s. He made an invaluable contribution to Citroën’s result this weekend.”
Yvan Muller: “The races were pretty much over after the first bend. Tiago Monteiro got away well in the main race and I couldn’t go after him. I stayed right on his tail until the end to keep up the pressure. But overtaking a car that is moving at the same speed as you on this circuit is quite simply impossible. Well done to Tiago for his win. He deserves it and I think he had a great time in front of his home crowd. As far as the championship goes, I can’t help thinking that it is unfortunate that the points system gives equal weight to the race with the reverse starting grid. It doesn’t encourage you to produce good performances.”
José María López: “I made a few little mistakes over the weekend. I didn’t manage to find my usual confidence level with the car. But you have to look at the positives. Despite tricky starting positions, I produced two sensible races to pick up two fifth places. I scored one point less than Yvan overall. I don’t think that’s very fair, as he was much better than I was in qualifying. But that is the way the system is, and among my rivals only Tiago scored more than me here. With a 101-point lead, I’m feeling calm and confident. In previous years, I had nowhere near the same advantage at the same stage! Now we are going to prepare for the Argentina round. Obviously, it’s going to be special for me and for the whole team.”
Results and standings
1. Tom Coronel (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1)
2. Tom Chilton (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
3. Nick Catsburg (Lada Vesta WTCC)
4. Mehdi Bennani (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
5. José María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
6. Rob Huff (Honda Civic WTCC)
7. Thed Björk (Volvo S60 WTCC)
8. Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC)
9. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
10. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)
16. Grégoire Demoustier (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
Fastest lap: Hugo Valente (2m00.608s)
1. Tiago Monteiro (Honda Civic WTCC)
2. Yvan Muller (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
3. Norbert Michelisz (Honda Civic WTCC)
4. Rob Huff (Honda Civic WTCC)
5. José María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
6. Thed Bjork (Volvo S60 WTCC)
7. Nick Catsburg (Lada Vesta WTCC)
8. Mehdi Bennani (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
9. Hugo Valente (Lada Vesta WTCC)
10. Tom Chilton (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
12. Grégoire Demoustier (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
Fastest lap: Rob Huff (1m58.385s)
World Championship: Driver Standings
1. José-María López: 244 points
2. Tiago Monteiro: 143 pts
3. Nick Catsburg: 139 pts
4. Mehdi Bennani: 134 pts
5. Yvan Muller: 133 pts
6. Norbert Michelisz: 127 pts
7. Rob Huff: 124 pts
8. Gabriele Tarquini: 104 pts
9. Tom Chilton: 103 pts
10. Tom Coronel: 75 pts
15. Grégoire Demoustier: 11 pts
World Championship: Manufacturer Standings
1. Citroën: 609 points
2. Honda: 427 pts
3. Lada: 368 pts
4. Polestar: 170 pts
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