Local Star Lopez Secures Victory In First WTCC Weekend

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

Jose Maria Lopez secured a popular home victory on his first weekend in the World Touring Car Championship with a lights-to-flag win in race two at Termas de Rio Hondo.

Starting from the reverse grid pole position in his Wiechers-Sport BMW, Lopez got a good start to build up an early lead.

After a while, Tiago Monteiro and Yvan Muller began to chase him down, but their challenge was ended when Muller ran into the back of Monteiro under braking. Monteiro went off, and Muller was handed a drive-through penalty.

That allowed Lopez to bring the car home for a three second win.

Gabriele Tarquini finished in second place, narrowly ahead of Pepe Oriola, who followed up his second place in race one with a result nearly as good in race two.

Michel Nykjaer was close behind in fourth place in his Chevrolet, while Norbert Michelisz held off fellow Honda driver Monteiro for fifth. James Nash came home in seventh ahead of Hugo Valente, although only after the Frenchman had biffed off Darryl O’Young. Tom Coronel and Stefano D’Aste completed the top ten, having been unable to match the pace of fellow BMW driver Lopez throughout the weekend.