Citroen shines in Marrakech
Citroën Racing had a historic day at the Moulay El Hassan circuit in Marrakech. In its very first race in FIA WTCC, the team secured a 1-2-3 in Race 1 with José-María López, Sébastien Loeb (pictured) and Yvan Muller.
The C-Elysée WTCCs also finished first and second in Race 2, with Loeb winning ahead of López. After being caught up in a collision at the start, Muller was forced to pull out. López leaves Morocco as the World Championship leader, one point ahead of his team mate Loeb.
In the first race the three Citroën drivers made a clean getaway as soon as the lights went out and controlled the race from the front. The race quickly settled into a groove as none of the drivers was willing to risk a potentially costly accident with the next event in France just a few days away. Chevrolet drivers Tom Chilton and series newcomer Dušan Borković completed the top-five, with Tiago Monteiro bringing the first Honda Civic home in sixth and James Thompson doing the same for Lada in tenth.
While the first race was remarkably devoid of accidents, the inevitable crash happened at the start of the second race, when pole sitter Tom Coronel was pushed into the wall by fellow front-line starter Mehdi Bennani. Coronel’s stricken car then took out Muller’s Citroën and the race had to be suspended. After the restart, Loeb managed to take the lead jumping Monteiro and Bennani in a short sequence. The French ace didn’t look back and held the lead until the finish, thus scoring his first WTCC win. Race 1 winner López worked his way up from fifth to second and took the provisional lead in the standings, only one point ahead of Loeb. Hugo Valente scored Chevrolet’s first podium finish of the year while Bennani still salvaged fifth, having been pipped for fourth by Tom Chilton by just 26/1000ths of a second. Lada’s Mikhail Kozlovskiy scored his first points in the championship, while German veteran Franz Engstler used his experience to twice win the TC2T class for old-generation cars.
Loeb and López also shared the laurels in the new Yokohama Performer, setting the fastest laps in Race 1 and 2 respectively. The championship will resume next week at Le Castellet’s Circuit Paul Ricard, on April 20 for rounds 3 and 4.
2014 WTCC - DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER ROUNDS 1-2
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2014 WTCC - MANUFACTURERS' CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER ROUNDS 1-2