Jose Maria Lopez denies Lada and Honda with last-gasp WTCC victory

Jose Maria Lopez took a thrilling World Touring Car Championship win in the second Slovakia Ring race, beating Honda's Tiago Monteiro and Lada's Nicky Catsburg to the flag

Jose Maria Lopez denies Lada and Honda with last-gasp WTCC victory

Having led the opening stages having got a better start than Catsburg and team-mate Yvan Muller, Citroen driver Lopez was forced to play second fiddle to Catsburg for much of the race after the Dutchman completed a fine switchback to take the lead.

But Lopez and Monteiro gradually reeled the Lada driver in, and Lopez made a decisive move in his C-Elysee on the exit of the final corner on the penultimate lap to regain first place - a position that he held to the flag.

Monteiro passed Catsburg at the second corner on the final tour but the delay between Lopez's pass and his put paid to his hopes of a second victory of the day. The Honda driver nevertheless capped a fine weekend with second.

Catsburg clung on for third thereafter, defending robustly from the second Honda of Norbert Michelisz - who dropped a position himself at the finish after slight contact from Polestar's Thed Bjork at the final corner handed the Swede fourth, equalling Volvo's best finish in the WTCC in any of its previous programmes.

NEWS UPDATE: Bjork excluded from Slovakia races

Michelisz limped home in fifth after picking up a puncture on the run to the line, ahead of polesitter Muller.

Muller made a tentative start from pole and found himself third after a clip from Catsburg sent him wide at Turn 1.

He forfeited another position to Monteiro, before he and Rob Huff made contact while fighting for fifth, relegating the Frenchman to eighth before his recovery.

Sebastien Loeb Racing's Mehdi Bennani and Tom Chilton finished seventh and eighth in their Citroen C-Elysees.

Huff retired from fifth with two laps remaining, ending his race in the gravel trap.

RESULTS - 12 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Racing Citroen 25m44.212s
2 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 0.700s
3 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada 3.260s
4 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 4.620s
5 Yvan Muller Citroen Racing Citroen 4.737s
6 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 5.262s
7 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 5.950s
8 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 7.551s
9 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 18.969s
10 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 19.345s
11 James Thompson Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 20.045s
12 Gregoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 21.675s
13 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada 1m38.571s
14 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 2 Laps
- Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo Disqualified
- Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada Retirement
- Ferenc Ficza Zengo Motorsport Honda Not started

DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP

Pos Driver Points
1 Tiago Monteiro 77
2 Jose Maria Lopez 76
3 Norbert Michelisz 52
4 Rob Huff 49
5 Mehdi Bennani 48
6 Yvan Muller 36
7 Nicky Catsburg 35
8 Hugo Valente 16
9 Gabriele Tarquini 12
10 Tom Chilton 12
11 Fredrik Ekblom 7
12 Thed Bjork 6
13 Tom Coronel 6
14 John Filippi 1
14 Gregoire Demoustier 1


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Honda's Tiago Monteiro battles to Slovakia WTCC race one win

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