Nordschleife, Race 1 : López wins after final-lap Nordschleife drama

Monteiro and Muller out after big shunt

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By Emmanuel Touzot

28 May 2016 - 12:05
Nordschleife, Race 1 : López wins (...)

José María López picked up victory in the Opening Race at FIA WTCC Race of Germany after a dramatic final-lap crash eliminated Tiago Monteiro and Yvan Muller.

Monteiro had led from pole position through the first two laps of the Nürburgring, the Citroëns of Muller and López worked their way up to second and third, assisted by Thed Björk pulling out of second place at the end of the grand prix loop on lap two with an oil pressure issue on his Volvo. Muller took a look at passing Monteiro at the end of the second lap, but the Honda driver stayed ahead.

However, Monteiro would go off out of the lead on the final lap, hitting the barriers hard and moving back into the middle of the track. Muller was left with nowhere else to go, while López managed to sneak through into the lead. Both Monteiro and Muller appeared to be unharmed.

López took victory by just over half a second in front of fellow Citroën driver Tom Chilton, who had briefly passed the double world champion on the grand prix loop on the last lap. Though he missed the outright win, Chilton did take the WTCC Trophy victory.

Norbert Michelisz completed the podium for Honda, with Rob Huff finishing fourth from 16th on the grid.

Having been second early on, Mehdi Bennani ran wide and slipped back into the pack, eventually finishing fifth ahead of LADA drivers Hugo Valente and Gabriele Tarquini. Fredrik Ekblom and Nicky Catsburg were next, while Sabine Schmitz picked up 10th on her return to WTCC action at her home circuit.

Tom Coronel had been fifth when he went off on the final lap, ruling him out of starting third on the grid for the Main Race.

Pos. Driver Team Car Time
1 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 3 laps
2 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen +0.526
3 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda +6.653
4 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda +7.971
5 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen +10.126
6 Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada +12.568
7 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada +12.890
8 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Volvo +12.983
9 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada +20.389
10 Sabine Schmitz Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet +29.462
11 Grégoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen +36.301
12 Ferenc Ficza Zengo Honda +38.331
13 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda DNF
14 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen DNF
15 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet DNF
16 Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Volvo DNF
17 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet DNF

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