New World Touring Car Champion José María López says that 2014 has been the “best season” of his career, after he capped off a dominant year with victory in the WTCC season finale in Macau.
Citroën’s López wrapped up the season a round early in Japan, but that didn’t stop him going on all-out attack on the streets of Macau. Despite never having raced at the Circuito da Guia before, the Argentine went on to put in a dominant display, taking pole position on Friday before following it up with a win in race one and fifth in race two.
“What more could I ask for? Winning in Macau is a special feeling,” said López of his tenth win of the season – a new WTCC record. “It was the ideal way to round off what I consider to be the best season of my career.
“I was expecting Yvan [Muller] to be untouchable on this circuit. But together, we all put the work in to produce this result. The car was perfect in the races and I was able to find a good pace. I attacked right to the end to avoid any mistakes.”
López, who like team-mates Yvan Muller and Sébastien Loeb has just signed a new contract with Citroën for 2015, hopes to be able to defend his world title next season.
“It’s now time to celebrate all this, first with the team and then at home in Argentina. In 2015, we’ll be starting again from scratch. I won’t be the outsider anymore, but rest assured, I’ll be defending my title!”
Frenchman Muller congratulated his team-mate and title rival on his maiden championship, with the four-time WTCC champion unable to put together a solid title defence in 2014 as he adjusted to the new specification TC1 cars.
“First of all, well done to Pechito, who has had a fantastic season and fully deserves his title,” said Muller. “Bravo to Citroën too: it’s a great achievement to win the Manufacturers’ championship and the top three spots in the Driver standings.
“This season has been more difficult than previous ones for me, and I’m going to have to work hard this winter if I want to do better next year.”
Citroën Racing’s Deputy Team Principal Xavier Mestelan praised the marque for their dominance in the WTCC this year, which saw the French team break several records in the process, including most wins for one driver and the most points scored in a season.
“Congratulations to José María López, who has shown all his qualities this weekend,” said Mestelan. “He didn’t make the slightest mistake: pole position, a race win, and the fastest lap. It was a performance that sums up his season!
“It was also the 17th victory by a Citroën C-Elysée WTCC this year, an incredible achievement in our first season in the competition. There are lots of facts and statistics that emerge at the end of a season like this. The fact that all our drivers – José María López, Sébastien Loeb, Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua – have won a race is something we can be extremely proud of, as is the reliability of the car.
“We are expecting even fiercer competition in 2015, so we’ll be getting down to work to ensure that we have the best possible chance of defending our titles.”