Lopez Breezes Past Huff to Make It a Double on Home Soil

by Peter Allen
Lopez swept his home event (Credit: fiawtcc.com)

Jose Maria Lopez soared through the field to secure victory in the second race of his home round of the World Touring Car Championship at Termas de Rio Hondo, denying Rob Huff and Lada in the process.

Huff led from pole position, and was 2.5 seconds clear when Lopez, who started tenth, took second place away from Gabriele Tarquini.

Once Lopez closed the gap, Huff had no answer to the sheer straight-line speed advantage of the Citroen, and didn’t even attempt to defend. He was still able to take Lada’s first podium finish in the WTCC.

Lopez was the furthest back of the three Citroens off the start but benefited from the actions of rival Yvan Muller, who in forcingSebastien Loeb off track allowed Lopez to get a run on both Muller and Michelisz. Lopez accepted his invitation, diving down the inside of both of them.

On lap two he passed Hugo Valente for sixth, and on lap five he cruised past both Tom Chilton and Mehdi Bennani on the back straight as the Moroccan got shuffled down from second to seventh on one lap, also falling behind Muller. Now fourth, Lopez dispatched the two factory Hondas of Tiago Monteiro and Tarquini on the following lap before chasing after Huff.

Lopez becomes the first driver to win both races in a WTCC weekend since Muller’s double at the Monza opener to the 2013 season, and has added another ten points to his advantage over the Frenchman to extend his lead to 60.

Muller spent a while going side-by-side with his 2013 team-mate Chilton, but eventually got past the Chevrolet driver and the two factory Honda men to take third, one second behind Huff.

Tarquini and Monteiro completed the top five ahead of Loeb, who made contact with Chilton that put the Briton out. Michelisz was seventh, ahead of Dusan Borkovic, Bennani and James Thompson.

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