Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Citroen dominate on WTCC debut

World Rally Championship powerhouse Citroen made a big statement in their first World Touring Car Championship event in Marrakesh last weekend, dominating all three days of the event.

From Friday testing to race day on Sunday, the cars from Versailles never left the top of the timing sheets. It was the French pair of Yvan Muller and Loeb led the charge initially with Muller topping testing and second practice with the nine time WRC champion Loeb leading the first practice session.

However, it was the third C-Elysse of Argentine Jose Maria Lopez that claimed pole position for the first race of the season, ahead of Loeb and Muller, who was demoted to fourth on the grid after having his fastest time disallowed. Lopez went on the lead a Citroen 1-2-3 in the first race, ahead of Loeb and Muller.

Race two saw the sole dark moment in Citroen's dominant weekend with Muller retiring from the race due to damage. He was a victim in an opening lap incident which also claimed the Chevrolet of Tom Coronel.

Despite this, Sebastien Loeb and Jose Maria Lopez eased through the field and cruised to another 1-2 finish. Their nearest challenger, Hugo Valente, finished a staggering 7.6 seconds behind the pair - who weren't event running at their full potential.

They may have plied their trade on the world's rally stages for over a decade, but after an intense testing and development program over the last two years, the French manufacturer has proved that they're more than competent on the track too; and with such an impressive display on their first outing, it's hard to see them being challenged any time soon.

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