Photo: Citroën Racing

López drives from last to first in race two at Paul Ricard

Citroën Total WTCC driver José María López has taken his second win of the 2014 WTCC season at Paul Ricard, driving from 18th and last on the grid to first, and leaves France with a 12 point lead in the drivers’ championship over Sébastien Loeb.

The Argentinian was up ten places by the end of the first lap in his Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, and was the leading Citroën driver ahead of Yvan Muller who had started tenth, while up front Tiago Monteiro had launched into the lead from third on the grid in the Castrol Honda Civic, passing Proteam’s Mehdi Bennani and the Chevrolet of René Münnich .

Further down the order, ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton was involved in two contacts, first a light touch with Gabriele Tarquini’s Honda, and then with Gianni Morbidelli’s Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet, which saw the Italian spun around and copped Chilton a drive-through penalty.

Muller and Loeb were carving their way through the field, but the two drivers made slight contact with each other, and Muller was able to break away, with Loeb’s pace seemingly slower after the collision.

Gabriele Tarquini was in a race to get away from the Citroëns up front, passing René Münnich for third on lap three and then the Proteam Honda of Mehdi Bennani on lap five at Turn 5.

López and Muller were both close behind however, and both made their way past the Moroccan on the following lap and were closing in on Tarquini.

Tarquini made a mistake at the chicane on lap seven, which allowed López around the outside and Muller jumped down the inside and the two Citroëns were second and third with Monteiro five seconds down the road.

At this point, the first of two safety cars was called as Sébastien Loeb hit a tyre stack at Turn 2 while fighting with Dusan Borkovic’s Chevrolet.

After one lap, the safety car was in, but then it was back out again almost straight away as the Campos SEAT of John Filippi dived down the inside of the two Engstler BMWs at Turn 1, colliding with Franz Engstler’s car. Engstler was able to continue and took the win in the TC2T class, but the stricken SEAT needed revcovery from the circuit.

Soon after the second restart, the two works Citroëns were able to get past Monteiro’s Honda, with López and Muller passing him at Turns 5 and 6 respectively. López began pulling away from his French team-mate and took a comfortable win, with Muller almost two seconds behind at the finish.

Monteiro secured third ahead of Tarquini, with Mehdi Bennani securing his best result for Proteam Honda this season, holding off Sébastien Loeb in the final two laps.

López now leads the drivers’ standings with 85 points, with Sébastien Loeb second on 73.

The next race is at the Hungaroring in Budapest in two weeks.