Spa WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez takes fifth win of 2014
|By Peter Mills||Sunday, June 22nd 2014, 13:24 GMT|
World Touring Car Championship leader Jose Maria Lopez took his fifth victory of the season after securing a hard fought win at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Argentinean's Citroen C-Elysee survived undamaged from contact with Hugo Valente at Malmedy on the opening lap.
The clash was sufficiently forceful to send the Campos Chevrolet Cruze sideways across the road, but thereafter Lopez scythed through the order untroubled from his ninth position on the reversed grid.
Lapping 1.8 seconds faster than long-time leader Tom Coronel, Lopez grabbed first position by powering past the ROAL Motorsport racer on the run down to Eau Rouge two laps from home.
Race one winner Yvan Muller completed a comfortable Citroen one-two. The Alsace racer spent two laps held behind the Honda Civics of Norbert Michelisz and Gabriele Tarquini early in the race, compromising his efforts to challenge title rival Lopez.
The reigning WTCC champion produced some fine overtaking moves, including a pass on Tiago Monteiro around the outside of Les Combes for third late in the race, but would be forced to concede a three-second winning margin.
An ecstatic Coronel narrowly held off the advances of factory Honda racer Monteiro and World Rally Championship legend Sebastien Loeb to claim his second podium of the season, as just 0.6s covered third to fifth at the chequered flag.
Dutch veteran Coronel had enjoyed a flier off the line to jump polesitter, and fellow customer RML Cruze competitor, Gianni Morbidelli for the lead into La Source.
Hungaroring winner Morbidelli completed the opening lap in third after losing out to Monteiro at the Bus Stop, and would end the afternoon rounding out the top six.
Results - 9 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 22m16.645s 2. Yvan Muller Citroen +3.097s 3. Tom Coronel ROAL Chevrolet +8.409s 4. Tiago Monteiro Honda +8.912s 5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen +9.060s 6. Gianni Morbidelli Munnich Chevrolet +16.851s 7. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda +17.929s 8. Gabriele Tarquini Honda +19.026s 9. Hugo Valente Campos Chevrolet +20.500s 10. Tom Chilton ROAL Chevrolet +21.187s 11. Mehdi Bennani Proteam Honda +22.296s 12. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada +34.995s 13. Rob Huff Lada +38.692s 14. Rene Munnich Munnich Chevrolet +39.557s 15. James Thompson Lada +50.893s 16. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW +1m17.281s* 17. Pasquale Di Sabatino Engstler BMW +1m23.029s* 18. Norbert Nagy Campos SEAT +1m33.065s* 19. John Filippi Campos SEAT -1 lap* * TC2 Retirements: Dusan Borkovic Campos Chevrolet 5 laps Ma Qing Hua Citroen 4 laps