2015 WTCC season review - Lopez and Citroen on the top again
Jose Maria Lopez and Citroen Total team confirmed their domination in the 2015 World Touring Car Championship season. The Argentinian driver and French manufacturer defended their titles from 2014 in great style, while Hungarian Norbert Michelisz won the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy in the independent entry category. The Italian squad ROAL Motorsport won the Yokohama Teams’ Trophy.
Citroen was from the other galaxy
Citroen C-Elysee confirmed supremacy to the rest of the grid, even with an almost constant +60kg compensation weight. The French car won 21 out of 24 races, while Honda scored only three victories, leaving Lada and Chevrolet empty-handed. The champion ‘Pechito’ Lopez achieved ten of those 21 wins. At the end of the season, he was 118 points ahead of his teammate and former champion Yvan Muller who had six victories.
Sebastien Loeb was the winner of four races in his last season in the series and until the very end, he pushed hard to finish ahead of his compatriot Muller. Muller was the runner-up with only one point more than Loeb. Fourth Citroen’s works team driver Ma Qing Hua, who also lost his place in Citroen team in the meantime, was the winner only once, but that was still enough to secure fourth place in the Drivers’ championship.
Honda gave the maximum, Lada disappointed
Tiago Monteiro was the most successful Honda driver with two victories, but the Portuguese driver’s form was inconsistent and he dropped a lot of points, finishing seventh at the end of the season. His teammate, Italian veteran Gabriele Tarquini failed to win a single race in the season for the first time in his WTCC career, but was lucky enough to finish fifth overall.
Lada Sport Rosneft team had a drivers line-up led by former champion Rob Huff, but also had to deal with numerous troubles, especially during the first half of the season. Their cars had solid speed, but weren’t as reliable and had a total of 15 retirements, so they have a lot of work to improve things for 2016.
Michelisz deserved luck in season finale
Norbert Michelisz, the driver of Zengo Motorsport, won his second WTCC title after three years, this time driving a Honda Civic. The battle for the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy was very close and intense throughout the whole season. Hugo Valente and Tom Chilton were the first out of that battle after races in China and Thailand, so Mehdi Bennani of Sebastien Loeb Racing was the only rival to the Hungarian. During the last two rounds in Qatar, Michelisz was lucky enough to keep the lead and finish four points ahead of the Moroccan.
ROAL Motorsport clinched its maiden WTCC Yokohama Trophy title. Its only rival was Campos Racing, and the main reason was that both teams were the only two who fielded at least two cars. Every other independent entry had only one car on the grid. The Italian team scored only 193 points at the end of the season, 12 more than the Spanish side, while for example, Zengo Motorsport scored 161 with a single car.
Changes for the 2016 season
So, the 2015 season wasn’t as exciting in terms of winners, but still there was a lot to watch out for as we could see a number of thrilling races. In 2016, we can expect more after the change of rules and numerous changes on the grid, especially in Citroen. Also, there will be a new manufacturer in TC1 class as Volvo has already prepared a team for its debut.