Lopez secures World Touring Car Championship crown with Suzuka win


Jose Maria Lopez - Photo Credit: FIA WTCC
Jose Maria Lopez - Photo Credit: FIA WTCC

Jose Maria Lopez sealed the World Touring Car Championship drivers’ title with victory in the first race of the weekend at Suzuka.

The Argentinian ace only required a fourth place finish to put the crown beyond doubt, but he scored his ninth victory of the season in commanding style from pole position.

He had built a three-second advantage over Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller before the outgoing champion slowed with a puncture.

Promoted up into second was Hugo Valente, who had passed his fellow Chevrolet driver Tom Chilton on the first lap. He would lose the place again on the penultimate lap, dropping to fifth behind Chilton, Sebastien Loeb and Norbert Michelisz.

Gabriele Tarquini got up to sixth in his factory Castrol Honda from tenth on the grid, ahead of Tom Coronel, Dusan Borkovic, Tiago Monteiro and Gianni Morbidelli.