Lopez: I don't care if I win another race in 2016
Citroen driver Jose Maria Lopez has said he won't mind going winless for the rest of the 2016 WTCC season as long as he is crowned champion at the end.
Despite having missed a chance at Vila Real pole by going down the escape road on the final corner of his shoot-out lap, Lopez has now extended his lead in the standings to 106 points.
And, fully aware that he is unlikely to win from sixth and fifth on the grid in the two respective Sunday races, Lopez admitted his focus is now on banking points.
“I have to try to minimise my losses," said Lopez. "I have a good lead, and there are five rounds to go after this, so I have an error margin of 20 points per round.
“From the position I am, on this kind of circuit it’ll be difficult to win, so I just need to try a good two races and score points and that’s it.
“I don’t care if I don’t win another race before the end of the year, the important thing for me is to win the championship.
"This is a very difficult track to overtake, so I just need to score points and not lose too many in comparison with Tiago [Monteiro] and Yvan [Muller].
"And Nicky [Catsburg, who starts second in the opening race] could be looking to score more points than anyone else.”"
While he was not certain what led to his escape road moment in Q3, Lopez was still unhappy with his performance, ruing also a mistake that nearly saw him exit in Q2 after contact with the wall.
“The conditions were difficult, you could see everyone was on the limit, but it’s not an excuse,” Lopez said.
“If you want to be on pole you need to not make mistakes, and do like Tiago did. He did a very good qualifying and he’s on pole and deserved it.
"Street circuits are always a little bit more difficult, and the heat and the bumps made things more tricky.”
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes
Yvan Muller makes the front row, Citroën win MAC3
Vila Real WTCC: Coronel takes lights-to-flag win in Race 1