Photo: Citroën Racing

José Maríá López takes fifth win of the year in Belgium

Citroën’s José María López restored the points gap between him and team-mate Yvan Muller, with a victory from eighth on the grid in race two, finishing ahead of Muller by three seconds, with ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel completing the podium.

Tom Coronel got the jump on Gianni Morbidelli in the identical Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 at the start, passing for the lead on the way up to Eau Rouge after leaving La Source side-by-side with the Italian.

Morbidelli lost a further spot later on the lap to Honda’s Tiago Monteiro, but eyes quickly turned to the full-time Citroëns which were working their way forward after starting eighth, ninth and tenth on the reversed grid.

López was up to sixth by the end of the first lap, and was continuing to push forward, passing the two Hondas of Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz on the following lap.

Yvan Muller was attempting to keep up with his Argentinian team-mate, passing Tarquini on the following lap but took two more laps than López to catch and pass the Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet of Gianni Morbidelli.

López continued to carve his way forward, passing Morbidelli and Monteiro into the Bus Stop chicane, but took a few more corners to get ahead of Tom Coronel, taking the outside line around La Source and blasting past the Dutchman’s Chevrolet on the way up to Eau Rouge.

Yvan Muller dealt with Monteiro’s Honda at Les Combes for third, and then passed Coronel at López’s preferred overtaking point at the exit of Blanchimont to take second, but with two laps to go had no time to catch López, who in fact extended his lead in the final two laps.

Tom Coronel managed to hold off Tiago Monteiro’s Honda to take third, with the two drivers under threat from Sébastien Loeb’s Citroën C-Elysée in the final stages.

Gianni Morbidelli finished sixth for Münnich Motorsport, with Norbert Michelisz, Gabriele Tarquini, Hugo Valente and Tom Chilton completing the top ten.

Ma Qing Hua of Citroën and Dusan Borkovic of Campos Racing were the only two retirements from the race, both pitting with mechanical issues while running outside of the top ten.

With López winning race two, the points gap is restored to 39 points between himself and Yvan Muller heading to the Argentinian’s home race at Termas de Río Hondo on August 3rd.