ROUNDS 3 & 4 – LE CASTELLET, FRANCE
Citroën dominated the second round of the 2014 WTCC on its home race at the Circuit Paul Ricard, clinching a double 1-2 win, but the two French races, on a more traditional circuit than Marrakech, were certainly more lively and closely-fought than anticipated, which thrilled the crowd. Estimated attendance was 29,000 over the weekend.
Yvan Muller opened his personal count of wins, by taking Race 1 on wet track, after having inherited pole position following the cancellation of all qualifying times of Sébastien Loeb and José María López because of an anomaly in the fuel cut-off valves. Loeb stormed from the back of the grid to take second.
In Race 2, marked by two safety-car periods, López managed to win, despite starting from last position, after climbing throughout the field, escorted by Yvan Muller, while Loeb could not make better than sixth after hitting the tires at the first chicane.
Muller and López also set the fastest lap in Race 1 and 2 respectively, to be declared Yokohama Performers of the event.
Today’s round saw Honda conquering its first two podium finishes of the season, with Gabriele Tarquini in Race 1 and Tiago Monteiro in Race 2. The Civic cars showed clear progress, as demonstrated also by the other points finishes of the customer cars of Norbert Michelisz and Mehdi Bennani.
Rob Huff put an incredible show in the wet in Race 1 to offer LADA a great fifth place in Race 1. The Chevrolets were a little step behind today, with Valente 6th in Race 1 and Borković 7th in Race 2 as best results.
Franz Engstler continued to reign on the TC2 class, with two new wins, despite being hit by John Filippi in Race 2 when the Frenchman missed a braking.
With today’s results, López retains the lead in the Drivers’ Championship, where he has a 8-points advantage on Loeb and 18 on Muller.
The championship will resume at Budapest’s Hungaroring, on May 4 for rounds 5 and 6.
ETCC – KARAMYSHEV AND SKUZ SHARE VICTORIES
After posting the fastest lap in yesterday’s qualifying, the two Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze turbo cars won both races despite the wet track.
Team-mates Nikolay Karamyshev from Russia and Igor Skuz from Ukraine, shared victories after two spectacular and fair fights that were sealed by a hug on the podium, proving that people from these two countries may pacifically coexist.
2013 champion Petr Fulín emerged twice as the winner of the TC2 class, despite both races had different leaders (Norbert Kiss and Norbert Nagy) in the early stages.
German girl Ulrike Krafft dominated the male team-mates and scored two wins in the S1600 class, while ETCC rookie Aku Pellinen celebrated his maiden appearance in the series with a double victory in the Single-Make Trophy.
Results of the Single-Make Trophy remain provisional, pending the technical check on the engine of the SEAT León cars of Andreas Pfister and Ronny Jost.