José María López takes comfortable third win of the year in Hungary
Citroën’s José María López extended his championship lead after taking the lead of the race from team-mate Yvan Muller into the first corner, with a mistake in the starting formation for the race meaning the four-time champion faces a stewards’ inquiry later today.
Pole-sitter Yvan Muller lined up on the grid one set of markers ahead of the planned pole position slot, which led to the grid incorrectly forming up behind him. The first start was therefore aborted with an extra formation lap then taking place, which brought the total race distance down to 13 laps. The start will be investigated by the officials later today after the second race.
At the second attempt at a start, when the lights went out, José María López got away well from third on the grid and then dived down the inside of Muller into Turn 1 taking the lead. Muller slotted into second, with Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente third.
On the exit of Turn 1, the other two Citroëns of Sébastien Loeb and Ma Qing Hua made light contact, with Loeb losing a spot as a result to the Honda of Tiago Monteiro, falling to sixth position.
López and Muller battled hard throughout the first few corners of the first lap, but López was able to hold the position and began to pull out a comfortable lead from lap two.
Further down the order, Tom Chilton was able to grab a spot in his ROAL Chevrolet from Norbert Miehlisz on the second lap, with Lada’s Rob Huff able to get ahead of Tom Coronel for ninth, which turned out to be the last key overtaking moves of the race.
López went on to build his advantage, taking victory with almost a four second lead from Muller, with Valente completing the podium and taking the independents’ class victory.
López’s win means he now leads the drivers’ standings on 121 points, with Sébastien Loeb 35 points further behind and Muller 41.
The second race follows, with Norbert Michelisz starting on pole position in front of his home crowd ahead of ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton.