Lopez rules out Hamilton/Rosberg-style crash with Muller
Jose Maria Lopez has put faith in his Citroen teammate Yvan Muller ahead of tomorrow’s race, indicating an inter-team collision at the start as seen in Formula 1's Spanish GP between Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton is unlikely.
Lopez romped to pole position at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in the 60-minute qualifying session, with Muller his only realistic threat around the 25.3km circuit.
But a self-confessed error from the Frenchman meant he was unable to take the fight directly to Lopez, who had time in hand after his second flying lap, and on his third run took pole by over 3.5s with a time of 8m35.541s.
On whether Lopez expects to see a fight from teammate Muller on race day, with Citroen's other main rival Honda struggling so far this weekend, Lopez explained:
“The team lets us fight always, but I believe we are clever guys and good teammates and we won’t do what has happened in another series [F1],” he said.
“This is the spirit of the team, we drive for our brand, we defend the colours of Citroen, so the last thing we want to do is to both not finish.”
Lopez’s time beat his own qualifying record from 2015 by two seconds, as he extended his lead in the provisional championship standings to 19 over Honda’s Tiago Monteiro.
“[After I left here] last year, I’ve just been waiting to come back,” said Lopez. “Of course, with a professional team we worked hard and it’s amazing to beat my lap from last year, especially with 80kg [of compensation weight].
“It’s all about the confidence in the car, but the fact that I put together a good lap on my second run gave me the confidence to try a bit more… but when I saw the lap at the end, I was surprised.”
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes
Nurburgring WTCC: Lopez obliterates lap record to clinch pole
José María López and Yvan Muller earn first All-Citroën front row at the Nürburgring