Lopez Claims Home Win in First Argentina Race Ahead of Michelisz

by Peter Allen
Lopex extended his championship lead with victory in the first of the weekend's race (Credit: fiawtcc.com)

Jose Maria Lopez thrilled the home crowds with victory in the World Touring Car Championship in race one at Termas de Rio Hondo, as Norbert Michelisz beat Yvan Muller to second.

Lopez got a good enough start from pole position to retain his lead, but his Citroen team-mates Muler and Sebastien Loebdid not get away so well.

That enabled the faster-starting Hondas of Michelisz and Tiago Monteiro to jump the two French-piloted cars into turn one.

Muller and Loeb used their pace advantage to quickly get back ahead of Monteiro, but although Muller was able to close on Michelisz, he couldn’t get past the Hungarian.

Michelisz finished 2.5 seconds behind the comfortable Lopez, who has now increased his championship lead over Muller from 40 to 50 points.

Loeb was a further four seconds behind Muller in fourth, while Monteiro held off the leading Chevrolet of Tom Chilton for fifth.

Rob Huff made up three places at the start to move into seventh, and the Briton held off Gabriele Tarquini’s Honda to score Lada’s best result since Paul Ricard in April.

Mehdi Bennani was ninth, while James Thompson got his Lada into the points at the very end of the race when Tom Coronelran deep at the penultimate corner.

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