Jose Maria Lopez Keeps On Winning After Fast Hungaroring Start

Jose Maria Lopez

Jose Maria Lopez claimed victory in race one for the sixth consecutive World Touring Car Championship round at the Hungaroring, after making amends for a poor qualifying by the time he got to the first corner.

Not on pole position for the first time since last year’s Beijing event six meetings ago, a fast launch propelled Lopez from third on the grid and into the lead past Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller down the inside of Turn 1.

From there, Lopez opened up a lead of almost four seconds before taking the chequered flag.

Muller was made to settle for second, and will be investigated after race two for his start procedure. A second formation lap had been run before the race began.

Second-fastest qualifier Hugo Valente was allowed to start from the front row of the grid after his grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags in practice was overturned. The Campos Racing Chevrolet driver slipped to third behind Lopez off the line but was able to maintain third under pressure from Citroen’s Ma Qing Hua and Honda man Tiago Monteiro.

First corner contact with Ma pushed Sebastien Loeb down to sixth and he finished 2.5s down on the trio ahead of him, and with Tom Chilton close behind after passing local hero Norbert Michelisz. Rob Huff lost ground on lap one but repassed Tom Coronel to finish ninth, with Gabriele Tarquini finishing on the Dutchman’s tail after starting at the back due to his qualifying crash.

Michelisz is due to start from the reverse grid pole position in race two as he aims to win in front of his passionate home crowd for the second time.