Vila Real WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez leads race one Citroen one-two

Reigning World Touring Car champion Jose Maria Lopez led flawlessly from pole position to victory in race one in Vila Real, followed home by Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb

Vila Real WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez leads race one Citroen one-two

Third-place qualifier Hugo Valente in the Campos Chevrolet had confided to AUTOSPORT on Saturday that he was apprehensive about the start, which is conducted on a part of the track off the racing line.

Those fears came to pass as he was swallowed up as the lights went out while the front row Citroen duo moved clear.

Honda privateer Norbert Michelisz moved up from fourth to third, followed by the factory Civics of Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro.

As Valente finally got up to speed he became the meat in a Citroen sandwich as Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua, who had already dispatched the Ladas of Jaap van Lagen and Nicky Catsburg, tried to go by on each side.

Valente was clipped by both cars, more firmly by Ma's, and cruised into the pits to retire.

Loeb could keep Lopez in sight but could not get close enough to mount a challenge, and the order up front remained set throughout.

After the first lap fracas Ma and Muller ran in sixth and seventh but gave fifth-placed Monteiro no trouble.

Ladas occupied the final three places in the top 10 as van Lagen built a gap from Catsburg, who had Rob Huff looming in his mirrors for the majority of the race.

RESULTS - 13 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 26m23.906s
2 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 1.519s
3 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 5.391s
4 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 5.711s
5 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 9.402s
6 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 12.807s
7 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 21.126s
8 Jaap van Lagen LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 22.324s
9 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 27.636s
10 Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 28.860s
11 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 29.395s
12 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 29.853s
13 Stefano D'Aste All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 34.158s
14 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 47.443s
15 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 1m06.056s
16 Gregoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet 1m06.927s
- Nestor Girolami Honda Racing team Sweden Honda Disqualified
- Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet Retirement


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Vila Real WTCC: Citroen's Jose Maria Lopez and Ma Qing Hua on poles

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