Lopez wins Nordschleife WTCC after big crash for Monteiro/Muller

Jose Maria Lopez won a dramatic opening World Touring Car Championship race at the Nurburgring Nordschleife after a huge shunt eliminated long-time race leader Tiago Monteiro and second-placed Yvan Muller

Lopez wins Nordschleife WTCC after big crash for Monteiro/Muller

Lopez had started the final lap in third, but was able to avoid the accident - triggered when Monteiro went off - and held off Sebastien Loeb Racing's Tom Chilton for his fourth win of the season.

The groundwork for Muller and Lopez's road position was laid at the start of the race, as the Citroen factory pair took the outside line at Turn 1 for a better run off the corner, with Muller and Lopez driving around the outside of Chilton to grab fourth and fifth.

That became third and fourth when Mehdi Bennani went wide at Wipperman, and by the time the field had reached the end of the grand prix circuit loop at the start of the second lap the pair were second and third after Thed Bjork had retired his Polestar Volvo S60 from second with engine problems.

With Bjork's exit, reverse grid poleman Monteiro had been able to stretch a lead through the middle section of the lap, and held a one-second advantage going on to the Dottinger Hohe straight.

He survived a nervy moment towards the end of the straight as Muller and Lopez tried to outflank him into Hohenrain, backing up the pair onto the start/finish straight.

Monteiro built a gap thereafter as Lopez battled to keep third against Chilton behind him and looked to have victory in reach.

But the Portuguese then appeared to suffer a tyre failure and slid off halfway round the final lap, piling into the barrier before being spat back into the centre of the track.

Muller had nowhere to go and harpooned the Civic, with both retiring on the spot,but Lopez snuck around the outside of the accident and emerged unscathed.

His C-Elysee appeared to skate around in the final few corners, but despite Chilton closing up in the final sector the Argentinian held on to win by half a second.

The exit of the leading duo did promote a Honda on to the podium, with Norbert Michelisz taking fourth.

His team-mate Rob Huff produced a stirring drive, gaining 12 spots from 16th on the grid to finish just a second back in fourth - passing fifth-placed Bennani on the final lap.

Hugo Valente and Gabriele Tarquini were sixth and seventh in their Lada Vestas - the latter admitting to taking a conservative approach to the race - while Fredrik Ekblom came home eighth from the rear of the grid.

Nicky Catsburg dropped back from fourth on the grid but salvaged two points in ninth, with attrition handing Sabine Schmitz the final point in her Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze after muscling past Gregoire Demoustier.

RESULTS - 3 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Racing Citroen 26m36.640s
2 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 0.526s
3 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 6.653s
4 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 7.971s
5 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 10.126s
6 Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada 12.568s
7 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada 12.890s
8 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 12.983s
9 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada 20.389s
10 Sabine Schmitz Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 29.462s
11 Gregoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 36.301s
12 Ferenc Ficza Zengo Motorsport Honda 38.331s
- Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Retirement
- Yvan Muller Citroen Racing Citroen Retirement
- Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Retirement
- Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo Retirement
- John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet Retirement


shares
comments
WTCC Nordschleife: Jose Maria Lopez dominates qualifying
Previous article

WTCC Nordschleife: Jose Maria Lopez dominates qualifying

Next article

Nordschleife WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez takes narrow race two win

Nordschleife WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez takes narrow race two win
Load comments
Why joker laps are entering the mainstream Plus

Why joker laps are entering the mainstream

This season the World Touring Car Championship looks certain to bring joker laps to a circuit-racing world championship for the first time. And it need not be the daft gimmick people may think

WTCC
Apr 6, 2017
The making of the world's best tin-top driver Plus

The making of the world's best tin-top driver

He has been overshadowed at Citroen for the last three seasons, but the retirement of Yvan Muller means the world says farewell to one of touring-car racing's finest talents

WTCC
Sep 26, 2016
Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC Plus

Volvo's plan to conquer the WTCC

Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC

WTCC
Jan 18, 2016
The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off Plus

The WTCC's Nordschleife gamble paid off

A 17-car field on a 13-mile track - the WTCC's Nurburgring Nordschleife gamble wasn't going to be easy to pull off. STUART CODLING explains how the series made it work

WTCC
May 20, 2015
Insight from a Nordschleife master Plus

Insight from a Nordschleife master

World championship racing returns to the Nordschleife this weekend. STUART CODLING got a lesson from one of the legendary track's few masters

WTCC
May 15, 2015
Becoming world champion for £100k Plus

Becoming world champion for £100k

The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000

WTCC
Mar 23, 2015
Can the vanquished champion bounce back? Plus

Can the vanquished champion bounce back?

The World Touring Car Championship kicks off in Argentina this weekend, and Yvan Muller bids to reclaim his throne from Citroen team-mate Jose Maria Lopez. He talks to STUART CODLING

WTCC
Mar 6, 2015
The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014 Plus

The top 10 WTCC drivers of 2014

Citroen had no rivals during the 2014 World Touring Car Championship, and 'rookie' Jose Maria Lopez hit the ground running to emerge as a worthy champion. PETER MILLS rates the field

WTCC
Dec 3, 2014