Thailand WTCC: Lopez crowned champion amid Race 1 carnage

Jose Maria Lopez dominated the first WTCC race at Buriram, Thailand, to clinch his second consecutive world title after Citroën Racing team-mate Yvan Muller was knocked out by an accident in the first lap.

The Argentinian led a Citroen 1-2-3-4, with Sebastien Loeb and Ma Qing Hua completing the podium ahead of Yokohama Trophy winner Mehdi Bennani.

It all kicked off at the start as the two Lada Vestas of Nicky Catsburg and Nicolas Lapierre were involved in an accident with the lunging ROAL Motorsport car of Tom Coronel, with all three retiring on the spot.

The real carnage, however, was yet to follow as Tiago Monteiro and Hugo Valente made contact, starting an accident which involved Muller and Norbert Michelisz. With Muller ruled out, Lopez was left with the easy task of finishing eighth to win the title.

After the subsequent safety car period, John Filippi retired almost immediately, while Rob Huff overtook Stefano D’Aste for seventh and went on to chase Monteiro in his damaged Honda Civic.

Shortly thereafter, Tom Chilton also slowed down and was forced back to the pits by a technical problem.

Huff soon made a spectacular pass on Monteiro, going for a gap on the Portuguese’s inside at Turn 3 and launching himself into a chase for Gabriele Tarquini and fifth place.

Yet there were no more position changes, although Bennani unsuccessfully attacked Ma for the last podium spot.

Behind the damaged Monteiro, Stefano D’Aste finished eighth ahead of Gregoire Demoustier, who had a troubled start, with local hero Tin Sritrai completing the top ten and taking the final point.

Pos. Driver Car Time/Delay
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 29'10.403
2 Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1.380
3 Ma Qing Hua Citroen 6.376
4 Mehdi Bennani Citroen 7.202
5 Gabriele Tarquini Honda 14.500
6 Rob Huff Lada 15.177
7 Tiago Monteiro Honda 18.493
8 Stefano D'Aste Chevrolet 21.004
9 Gregoire Demoustier Chevrolet 22.830
10 Tin Sritrai Chevrolet 27.419
Ret Tom Chilton Chevrolet  
Ret John Filippi Chevrolet  
Ret Yvan Muller Citroen  
Ret Norbert Michelisz Honda  
Ret Hugo Valente Chevrolet  
Ret Nicky Catsburg Lada  
Ret Nicolas Lapierre Lada  
Ret Tom Coronel Chevrolet  

Pietro Casillo / TouringCarTimes

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About this article
Series WTCC
Event Buriram
Track Chang International Circuit
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Jose Maria Lopez , Ma Qing Hua
Teams Citroën World Touring Car team
Article type Race report