It’s done! José María López secured his first WTCC title with a perfect Race 1 in Suzuka.
The Argentine kept his cool in this crucial race and left no room to calculations. Making a perfect use of his pole position, he took a good start and keep things in command until the chequered flag.
His only possible rival, Yvan Muller, escorted him during six laps before suffering a puncture that forced him to the pits. The real battle was for second, between the Chevrolet cars of Chilton and Valente, with the Frenchman passing the Brit in the early stages and bound to keep the position before being passed by Chilton, Sébastien Loeb, Norbert Michelisz in the penultimate lap. Gabriele Tarquini took sixth and Franz Engstler won again in TC2T.
The brand new Champion was welcomed in victory lane by Argentine music and flags while his mechanics were wearing the Argentine national football team’s shirts.
Start – Good start of López ahead of Muller, Chilton, Valente and LoebLap 1 – Valente passes Chilton in T15 for thirdLap 2 – The two Citroën cars of López and Muller lead already by 2.5 seconds from the Chevrolet cars of Valente and ChiltonLap 3 – Chilton attacks Valente and both are under threat by LoebLap 4 – Fastest lap for López, who has now 1.3 seconds over MullerLap 5 – Again fastest lap for López, who takes 0.9 on Muller in this lapLap 6 – Tarquini goes a little bit wide at turn 9, while Loeb tries again to pass ChiltonLap 7 – Muller slows down with a rear tyre puncture and retires, which makes López the virtual championLap 10 – In turn 14, Chilton passes Valente for second; the latter seems in troubles and cannot avoid Loeb and Michelisz passing him, while he manages narrowly to keep Tarquini behindLap 11 – López wins race and title, while in TC2T, Engstler beats Filippi and Kwong.