“C’est fait!”, it’s done. That’s what the Citroën team could say, with emotion and relief, at the end of a Race 1 in Shanghai that they dominated from beginning to the end.
The final 1-2-3-4 ensured in the most brilliant way the Manufacturers’ title for the French car maker. “We are happy for the great job the entire team did and proud to reach the title here in China,” said Team Principal Yves Matton.
The win was for José María López who kept the advantage of the pole ahead team-mates Ma Qing Hua and Yvan Muller, while Sébastien Loeb had to battle against the Honda cars to conquer the fourth spot.
The first non-Citroën at the end was Norbert Michelisz, who defended strenuously his 5th position from Tarquini and Monteiro.
Time to celebrate also for Franz Engstler, who won the TC2T race and secured the Yokohama Trophy title and his team-mate Filipe De Souza took the honours in the Asia Trophy.
RACE 1/(#) Ranking points
- José Maria López/ARG – Citröen Champs-Elyseé (71,5)
- Ma Qing Hua/CHN – Citröen Champs-Elyseé (61)
- Yvan Muller/FRA – Citröen Champs-Elyseé (53,5)
- Sebastien Loeb/FRA – Citröen Champs-Elyseé (46,5)
- Norbert Michelisz/HUN – Honda Civic (43)
- Gabriele Tarquini/ITA – Honda Civic (36)
- Tiago Monteiro/POR – Honda Civic (28,5)
- Tom Coronel/NED – Chevrolet RMC Cruze TC1 (21,5)
- Hugo Valente/FRA – Chevrolet RMC Cruze TC1 (14,5)
- Mehdi Bennani/MAR – Honda Civic (10,5)
- Gianni Morbidelli/ITA – Chevrolet RMC Cruze TC1 (7)
- Dusan Borkovic/SER – Chevrolet RMC Cruze TC1 (3,5)
- Franz Engstler/GER – BMW E90 320 (3)
- John Fillipi/FRA – Seat Leon (2)
- Rob Huff/GBR – Lada Granta 1.6 T (1,5)
Bennani was the first Moroccan and North African driver ever to win an FIA World Championship race and became the 34th race winner in ten years of WTCC. The fourth new winner so far in the current season after Sébastien Loeb, Gianni Morbidelli and Ma Qing Hua.
This was also the first overall victory for Italian outfit Proteam Racing, the most faithful team in the championship as it’s actually the only one who has taken part in all the ten WTCC seasons.
But the most important fact was that Bennani brought Honda back to the winning circle, nearly one year after Tiago Monteiro’s success at Macau in 2013.
The 1-2 of the Civic TC1 cars signed by Bennani and Monteiro in China was a sigh of relief for the Japanese Manufacturer, especially as it came two weeks before Honda’s home race at Suzuka.
Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project Leader for WTCC development for Honda R & D was delighted: “This victory proved that we have the power. After improving the car in Beijing, Shanghai was the next step and now we are looking forward to make another step in Suzuka.”
JAS Motorsport team principal Alessandro Mariani echoed: “This was a significant victory, for Honda, but also for the customers with the Civic because they are important for us. It’s a pity that Gabriele Tarquini had a power steering problem, otherwise we could have finished 1-2-3. We proved that we had the right pace in Race 2. Everyone worked hard in the last months and weeks, this victory is good for the morale of everybody.”
RACE 2/(#) Ranking points
- Mehdi Bennani/MAR – Honda Civic (71,5)
- Tiago Monteiro/POR – Honda Civic (61)
- José Maria López/ARG – Citröen Champs-Elyseé (53,5)
- Norbert Michelisz/HUN – Honda Civic (46,5)
- Ma Qing Hua/CHN – Citröen Champs-Elyseé (43)
- Tom Coronel/NED – Chevrolet RMC Cruze TC1 (36)
- Tom Chiton/GBR – Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 (28,5)
- Hugo Valente/FRA – Chevrolet RMC Cruze TC1 (21,5)
- Dusan Borkovic/SER – Chevrolet RMC Cruze TC1 (14,5)
- James Thompson/GBR – Lada Granta 1.6 T (10,5)
- Mikhail Kozlovskiy/RUS – Lada Granta 1.6 T (7)
- Sebastien Loeb/FRA – Citröen Champs-Elyseé (3,5)
- Gianni Morbidelli/ITA – Chevrolet RMC Cruze TC1 (3)
- Franz Engstler/GER – BMW E90 320 (2)
- John Fillipi/FRA – Seat Leon (1,5)