Citroën takes manufacturers’ crown as José María López leads 1-2-3-4
José María López took a lights-to-flag win at Shanghai. The Argentinian came home ahead of team-mate Ma Qing Hua, with Citroën’s Yvan Muller completing the podium just a flash ahead of Sébastien Loeb, making it a Citroën 1-2-3-4.
At the start López retained the lead from team-mates Ma and Muller. Norbert Michelisz managed to stay in fourth as fellow Honda driver Tiago Monteiro went up to fifth by passing Loeb.
The Frenchman however managed to overtake the Civic with a good move on the outside of Turn 1 and started chasing Michelisz, who kept Loeb behind with a very good defensive drive until the Citroën managed to jump up in fourth.
Meanwhile Tom Chilton had to retire after having lost his rear right wheel. TC2 driver William Lok clipped the tyre wall on the inside of the last corner and retired due to left front damage. The Hong Kong driver’s Seat León remained on the outside of the last corner for several laps before being removed.
More drama was to come as Lada’s Rob Huff made contact with Dusan Borkovic’s Chevrolet for eleventh. Both cars sustained damage, which allowed Gianni Morbidelli to take the first non-points awarding spot.
López won ahead of a charging Ma Qing Hua, with the Argentinian only able to open a gap towards the end of the race. Yvan Muller came a distant third, even attacked by Sébastien Loeb in the final moments of the race. Citroën’s 1-2-3-4 was also the occasion to celebrate the French manufacturer’s maiden World title in the WTCC.
Honda came fifth with Norbert Michelisz ahead of works duo Gabriele Tarquini-Tiago Monteiro. Tom Coronel came eighth and was the highest-placed Chevrolet, just ahead of stablemate Hugo Valente. Mehdi Bennani put pressure on the Campos Racing driver, but the Honda did not manage to overtake the Chevrolet.
Franz Engstler also won the Yokohama Trophy, marking the German’s first title in the World Touring Car Championship.
López increases his advantage by 10 points from team-mate Yvan Muller and is now 78 points ahead. The title fight will therefore go to Suzuka as he cannot increase the gap up to 110 points, which would have been enough to crown him champion.