Sébastien Loeb hails “perfect race” while López says he “needs to find the confidence” again

Citroën’s Sébastien Loeb hailed his second win of the season as a perfect race after a great launch off the line in race two which saw him battling with the Honda of Gabriele Tarquini for the lead from eighth on the grid, while José María López maintains a healthy points lead after two second place finishes in Slovakia, but for the second weekend in a row has not stood on the top step of the podium.

“Like Yvan said, the key was the start,” said Loeb. “We had some great starts with the car and it was important to take a good line in the traffic I can say on the first straight. I ended second in the first corner already fighting with Gabriele (Tarquini). I had 2-3 laps to try to find an opportunity to pass him. He was defending really well and on the straight he was completely on the right so I went to the outside and finally I could cross the line and pass him.

“I wanted to really pass early because I knew Yvan and Pechito would stay behind and then there would be more and more pressure. When I passed him I tried to really drive like in qualifying, flat out all the time to try not to get another Citroën closing the gap and have to defend. The car was fantastic and already in the first race I was really happy. The second race was just perfect and I could push hard from the start to the end. It was the perfect race for me.”

Although López now hasn’t won since the first race at the Nürburgring, now enduring his second consecutive winless weekend, the reigning champion is mindful of the slowly decreasing points gap to Citroën team-mate Yvan Muller, who is now 30 points behind with 330 points available from the rest of the season.

“I was pleased with my weekend. Not a win but two second places, which is good points for the championship,” said López. “I need to keep doing the same. I know it’s going to be a very tight battle until the end, but we are very happy, we reached the half of the championship and the gap is 30 points. If I lose five points in each race we’ll be okay although it will be tight in the end!”

“I need to find a little bit the confidence I had in the beginning of the season but I cannot complain. Normally you get used to (winning) and when you are second it maybe seems strange, but I am racing with two champions. They are great drivers and I am really enjoying the fight.”