José María López dominates the WTCC’s first night race in Qatar
Citroën driver José María López took a lights-to-flag victory in the World Touring Car Championships’ first ever night race in Losail, Qatar, leading by X seconds to take a his own record equalling tenth win of the season.
The Argentinian was unchallenged into the first corner, while team-mate Sébastien Loeb briefly had the jump on Morocco’s Mehdi Bennani into the first corner, but the French driver then dropped behind both his own team’s driver and the Campos Chevrolet of Hugo Valente into Turn 2, and found himself stuck behind Valente’s Chevrolet for the remainder of the race.
Gabriele Tarquini spun off on the dust into the first corner and dropped to dead last, but was able to work his way past the Campos Chevrolet of Nasser Al-Attiyah for 17th, which then became 16th when Craft-Bamboo Chevrolet driver Gregoire Demoustier pitted with one lap to go, the only retirement of the race.
The other two Citroëns of Ma Qing Hua and Yvan Muller ran in fifth and sixth position throughout the race, with the Chinese driver hounded by the four-time champion throughout, but to no avail.
Norbert Michelisz picked up seventh overall, and third in the independents’ class, but with Mehdi Bennani scoring victory in the independents’ trophy, the gap is down to two points ahead of the second race of the day.
A penalty may follow for Stefano D’Aste in the Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet, who is being investigated for a jump start. The Italian finished tenth overall, picking up the final point.
In the overall drivers’ standings, Sébastien Loeb is now 12 points clear of Yvan Muller for second position, but Muller will start in third for race two.
The second race gets underway imminently, with Campos Racing’s John Filippi starting on pole position ahead of the ROAL Chevrolet of Tom Coronel.