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Morocco WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez leads Citroen 1-2-3 race victory

Jose Maria Lopez, Citroen, Marrakech WTCC 2014

Jose Maria Lopez began his Citroen career with a victory in the World Touring Car season opener in Marrakech, leading a 1-2-3 for the French manufacturer.

Once fourth starter Yvan Muller had outbraked ROAL Chevrolet racer Tom Chilton for third into Turn 1 away from the standing start, the three Citroens were unchallenged.

Nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb remained within a second of Lopez throughout, but no overtaking attempts were forthcoming.

Reigning champion Yvan Muller also avoided staging any bold passing manoeuvres on his illustrious team-mate to take the final step on the podium.

Chilton enjoyed a lonely run to fourth, some 8.2s in arrears of the dominant Lopez.

Impressing throughout the weekend, Dusan Borkovic took a fine fifth, ahead of factory Honda racer Tiago Monteiro.

The Serbian's passing move on Monteiro was forceful, the pair clashing into the final hairpin on lap four.

Monteiro lost his rear bumper in the incident, and fellow Honda runner Mehdi Bennani sustained similar damage at the hands of Borkovic's team-mate Hugo Valente.

The young Frenchman received a warning flag for his collision with Bennani, which occurred on the preceding lap when battling for eighth.

Zengo Motorsport's Norbert Michelisz appeared to struggle for speed in the closing laps, and fell two positions from seventh to ninth.

Rene Munnich failed to capitalise on his strongest WTCC qualifying performance of sixth by creeping before the lights.

The German driver/owner lost further ground negotiating Turn 1 in a scrappy manner and later retired.

Franz Engstler took victory in the poorly supported TC2 class, but was 1m14 seconds adrift of Lopez.

Results - 14 laps:                                      
Pos  Driver                Team                 Time/Gap
 1.  Jose Maria Lopez      Citroen                      
 2.  Sebastien Loeb        Citroen               +0.713s
 3.  Yvan Muller           Citroen               +1.607s
 4.  Tom Chilton           ROAL Chevrolet        +8.222s
 5.  Dusan Borkovic        Campos Chevrolet     +11.849s
 6.  Tiago Monteiro        Honda                +20.495s
 7.  Mehdi Bannani         Proteam Honda        +25.111s
 8.  Hugo Valente          Campos Chevrolet     +29.953s
 9.  Norbert Michelisz     Zengo Honda          +44.583s
10.  James Thompson        Lada                 +48.596s
11.  Mikhail Kozlowskiy    Lada               +1m03.873s
12.  Franz Engstler        Engstler BMW       +1m14.163s*
13.  Pasquale di Sabatino  Engstler BMW       +1m37.538s*
14.  John Filippi          Campos SEAT        +1m41.171s*
15.  Gianni Morbidelli     Munnich Chevrolet     +2 laps
     Rene Munnich          Munnich Chevrolet      9 laps
     Tom Coronel           ROAL Chevrolet         7 laps
     Rob Huff              Lada                   4 laps

* TC2
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