José María López extends points lead with easy win in Russia
Citroën’s José María López has claimed his fourth win of the season at the Moscow Raceway, after being challenged at the start by the Honda of Gabriele Tarquini, but after being able to defend the position, went on to take the win by three seconds ahead of the Italian.
The Hondas got away well from second and third on the grid and placed their bets on a run down the inside into the first corner, with Tarquini getting the nose of the Honda Civic ahead into the first corner, but López was able to draft around the outside and retake the lead, while Citroën team-mate Sébastien Loeb was able to similarly move ahead of Tiago Monteiro’s Honda for third.
From there, López started to build the lead, while Tarquini was forced to defend against Loeb for the duration of the race, and Monteiro found himself fighting off Yvan Muller’s Citroën for fourth.
At the end of the second lap, it was a complete disaster for the Campos Racing team, when Dusan Borovic’s steering, with which he had issues yesterday in qualifying, failed at the final corner, and he slammed into the left-rear of team-mate Hugo Valente’s car, with both cars eliminated from the race.
Valente’s car was only just returned to the pits after the race for repairs, and the team will have a hard task to fix the car during the repair time to allow the Frenchman to start from his pole position for race two. If he doesn’t, Citroën’s Ma Qing Hua will inherit the spot, with the Chinese driver securing sixth in the first race after working his way forward from ninth.
On lap four, Yvan Muller had a run on Monteiro at the final corner, but both ran wide, which allowed ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton through into fourth, while Muller did move ahead of Monteiro, who also lost a spot to Ma Qing Hua.
Muller was able to pass Chilton in a manoeuvre which lasted three corners on the final lap, challenging at Turn 15, putting the British driver out of position and allowing Muller to take fourth into the second corner on the inside.
The second race follows with Hugo Valente provisionally set to start from pole ahead of Ma Qing Hua, with race one winner José María López to start in tenth.