Lopez defended WTCC title
Three races before the end of the season Jose Maria Lopez defended the WTCC title after winning race 1 in Thailand. The job for Argentinian ace was easier after his only rival in the championship battle Yvan Muller retired in the early stage of the race.
Lopez had pole position for the race 1 at the Chang International Circuit, while his Citroen teammates Sebastien Loeb, Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua were behind Pechito.
We could see a huge crash just after the start of the race again, with many cars involved, so safety car went in. Muller’s Citroen C-Elysee was badly damaged and former champion was out of the race , while Tom Coronel, Nicolas Lapierre, Nick Catsburg and Hugo Valente were forced to retire. Norbert Michelisz also went into pits to save his Honda for the race 2 in which he will start from pole position.
Safety car was on track for five laps and after the restart, Lopez defended well all Loeb’s attacks and scored ninth victory in the season, securing his second championship title in a row, becoming third driver in history which managed to defend the title.
Loeb was second in race 1, while Ma Qing Hua completed all-Citroen podium finishing third. Mehdi Bennani, Gabriele Tarquini, Rob Huff, Tiago Monteiro, Stefano D’Aste, Gregoire Demoustier and local favorite Tin Sritrai, who made a debut in WTCC, also scored points.