Losail, Race 1: López makes WTCC history with night race victory

Mehdi Bennani and Hugo Valente on the podium

By Franck Drui

27 November 2015 - 20:20
Losail, Race 1: López makes WTCC (...)

World champion José María López has equalled his season-best record of 10 wins by triumphing in the opening FIA WTCC DHL Race of Qatar, which took place at the spectacular floodlit Losail International Circuit near the Qatari capital Doha.

Driving a Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, López led away from the DHL-presented pole position and, after surviving a first-corner attack from team-mate Sébastien Loeb, was able to sprint to an impressive victory in the WTCC’s first-ever night race ahead of Mehdi Bennani and Hugo Valente.

By winning the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy category in second overall, Bennani will start race two a mere two points behind Norbert Michelisz in the battle for the title for independent racers.

Loeb, who started third, fell to fourth, fought back ahead of Valente for third before dropping back at Turn 1 on lap two. He hassled Valente for the remainder of the 12-lap race but ultimately settled for fourth, a result that nevertheless extends his advantage to 12 points over Yvan Muller in the fight to be WTCC vice-champion. Muller finished sixth behind Ma Qing Hua with Michelisz seventh ahead of fellow Honda driver Tiago Monteiro, who overtook LADA’s Nicky Catsburg for eighth on the penultimate lap.

Stefano D’Aste completed the top 10, while Gabriele Tarquini recovered from a handful of spins to beat local hero Nasser Al-Attiyah to P16.

The second WTCC DHL Race of Thailand gets underway at 22h40 local time

Pos. Driver Team Car Time
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 12 laps
2 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen +7.631
3 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet +11.774
4 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen +12.717
5 Ma Qing Hua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen +18.815
6 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen +19.343
7 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda +20.064
8 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda +22.700
9 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada +24.397
10 Nicolas Lapierre LADA Sport Rosneft Lada +31.613
11 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet +34.224
12 Robert Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada +34.530
13 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet +35.129
14 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet +36.178
15 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda +37.292
16 Nasser Al-Attiyah Campos Racing Chevrolet +39.646
17 Stefano D’Aste Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet +55.426
18 Grégoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet +1 lap



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