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WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez wins, but Lada causes the surprise


The WTCC Race of Argentina was a sweet dream for both the numerous Argentine fans that flocked to Termas de Rio Hondo and local hero Jose Maria Lopez.

In front of a huge crowd – 50,000 over the two days according to the official figures released by the circuit – the Citroen driver took a double victory, becoming the first driver this year to win both races in the same weekend, and bringing his personal number of successes this season to seven.

The emotional side of Lopez’s triumph added something special to a weekend that won’t be forgotten by anyone present at Termas in a very hot Sunday.

Lopez’s perfect weekend started with the pole position and a lights-to-flag win in Race 1, while Race 2 saw him battling to emerge from the middle of the group and taking the lead seven laps from the end.

With Yvan Muller finishing third twice, Lopez has now extended his lead in the standings to 60 points.

The Argentine round had other and unexpected heroes: the LADA Sport Lukoil team that ended the weekend with its first WTCC podium ever, three other point finishes and having led a WTCC race for the first time since their involvement in the championship.

Rob Huff started from the reverse pole in Race 2, led for eight laps and finished a brilliant second, being beaten only by Lopez. The Russian team duly celebrated the achievement of the much-improved Granta cars.

Now the championship faces a two-month break before resuming at Beijing’s Goldenport Park, China, on October 5, for rounds 17 and 18.